Back in 2015, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) launched an app called "Mobile Justice" that is designed to help John and Jane Doe record police misconduct. But the cops can grab your phone, you retort. True, but videos recorded with the app are automatically sent to the ACLU's servers just in case the cops try to pull a fast one. The app has three functions: Record, Witness, and Report.
Record is used to film an incident involving possible police misconduct, and there is a test button that allows users to make sure that their camera is working. Once the recording is stopped, the Report screen shows up. All information pertaining to an incident should be included with this section of the app including where the misconduct occurred, the ages of those involved, and more. It should be noted that users can also file a report with the ACLU without shooting video of an incident.
The Witness feature allows you to discover where another nearby user of the app is recording an incident so that you can witness the event and record it from a different angle. To set the app up for this feature, tap on Settings and toggle on "Broadcast My Location." Tap the Witness button and the light in the eye will turn green. If someone else in the area is recording police misconduct, you'll be notified and a map will direct you to the nearby incident.
CNN reports that the ACLU says that now would be a great time for people to install the app. Marcus Benigno, a spokesperson for the ACLU of Southern California, told CNN that "There is no doubt that moments like these highlight the importance of the app. Without a video of the unfortunate and tragic incident, we probably wouldn't even know George Floyd's name."
While the app is available in just 17 states and Washington D.C. (the states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Virginia), it will soon be available in all 50 states and will follow each state's own laws about recording police activity. The ACLU's Benigno says, "The initial goal was to make sure abuses from law enforcement were caught on camera, so we can ultimately reform the system, but what we're seeing is it's not just about capturing abuse. It's become a de-escalation tool. It can help people feel empowered while forcing officers to take a second to reevaluate the situation. There are countless videos showing people asserting their right to film with a sense of security and safety."