If there is one recurring social theme dominating media coverage nationwide, it’s excessive police force and racial profiling. Thanks to the age of mobile media and social networking, instances of suspected injustice are caught on camera more than ever, and to make it official, there is now an app for it.
The ACLU, the renowned national civil rights organization, created Mobile Justice, a free app available for both Android and iOS that is specific to the state you live in. For example, the ACLU of California created their own app tailored to California’s state law.
Versions of Mobile Justice also exist in Oregon, Missouri, Michigan, Nebraska, North Carolina and Mississippi. Citizens in other states, like New York and New Jersey, are encouraged to use other apps like “Stop and Frisk Watch” or “Cop Block” to hold police accountable for their actions.
The app only has three main functions: record, report and witness. On the app, you tap record like any normal video player, but after you’ve filmed the incident, tapping the screen again automatically sends your anonymous video to the ACLU. A copy is also saved on your phone.
There is also a report screen where you can input more details right then and there. Users also have the option of sending the ACLU their contact information.
A “Witness” feature alerts nearby users of your location when an incident is in progress. The app also includes a full database of your individual rights.
Patrisse Cullors, director of the Truth and Reinvestment Campaign at the Ella Baker Center, supported the launch of Mobile Justice California, telling The Nation:
“People who historically have had very little power in the face of law enforcement now have this tool to reclaim their power and dignity. Our vision is that this app will ultimately help community members connect and organize to respond to incidents of law enforcement violence, and then share their experiences and knowledge with others.”
Witnesses to instances of suspected police injustice who have had the chance to record it without the app are still encouraged by the ACLU to send their footage in to the organization.
It’s about time technology and apps help to protect people’s rights and preserve justice.