ACLU of Missouri Releases Tool to Hold Police Accountable
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ST. LOUIS – Today, the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri launched a smart phone app called the ACLU of Missouri Mobile Justice app — an empowerment tool for those who feel their civil rights are being violated by law enforcement officers.
The Android app, which can be downloaded for free through the ACLU of Missouri website, has three main functions and Know Your Rights information. Record allows citizens to capture exchanges between police officers and themselves or other community members in audio and video files that are automatically sent to the ACLU of Missouri. Witness sends out an alert when someone is stopped by police so that community members can move toward the location and document the interaction. Report gives the app user the option to complete an incident report and send it directly to the ACLU of Missouri for review. Know Your Rights provides an overview of what rights protect you when you are stopped by law enforcement officers.
“Since Michael Brown was fatally shot in August, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of complaints from people who are routinely stopped, searched, humiliated and bullied into compliance by law enforcement officers,” explains Jeffrey Mittman, executive director of the ACLU of Missouri. “This app will empower Missourians who have traditionally felt powerless, regardless of whether they live in Ferguson, Springfield, Cape Girardeau, or in rural Missouri.”
St. Louis University School of Law Assistant Professor Justin Hansford, who was arrested Oct. 22 while serving as a legal observer at a Ferguson October event at the Maplewood Walmart, was on hand to unveil the Mobile Justice app. “I encourage anyone who wants to be prepared when encountering police to download Mobile Justice today,” he said. “It’s the next best thing to having a civil rights attorney on speed dial.”
ACLU affiliates in Mississippi, Oregon and Nebraska are joining the ACLU of Missouri in releasing the Mobile Justice app today. Funded by a grant from the National ACLU, the Mobile Justice app was developed by Quadrant 2 – the same developer that created the Stop and Frisk Watch app for the New York Civil Liberties Union to address racial profiling. An iPhone version of Mobile Justice will be released at a later date.
“Since the NYCLU released its app in 2012, it has been downloaded more than 30,000 times and the New York Police Department’s use of street stops has declined by more than half,” explains Sarah Rossi, the ACLU of Missouri’s director of advocacy and policy. “These numbers tell us that this type of app is sorely needed and can positively impact our communities.”
Learn more about the ACLU of Missouri Mobile Justice app and download it through a link on the ACLU of Missouri website.
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