We all know the face of Eric Garner, we’ve seen the cowering body of Rodney King, the falling form of Walter Scott. We know these men because videos have been played for us over and over again. But what about Michael Brown? And Freddie Gray? What about the crimes that weren’t caught on video tape? Or the video tapes that were deleted?
The ACLU of Southern California has an idea: Mobile Justice
The ACLU Mobile Justice App will be a space where users can document incidents and misconduct by law enforcement officers and alert members of their community about an incident in progress. The app expands on the already active national ACLU app available for Android. Southern California’s version, Mobile Justice CA, is available today for both Android and iOS, in both English and Spanish.
The mobile app allows users to record incidents on their phones, then automatically upload the video to the ACLU. Users are also offered an alert when someone bears witness to a nearby incident. Even if they are unable to record an incident, users can submit a report to the ACLU about something they saw or experienced.
Mobile Justice CA also provides users on-the-go access to Know Your Rights, ACLU materials covering everything from students’ rights and health rights to free speech and encounters with law enforcement
Recording law enforcement misconduct can not solve every problem. Still, the app can help in a number of ways. Namely, categorizing and saving videos of misconduct into one location rather than on the phones and devices of dispersed individuals consolidates the information. Documenting incidents in one, reliable, and permanent place is a way to track (and thus target sources of) civil unrest and the abuse of power.
This also prevents video footage of injustice from being lost, deleted, or ceased. Last year, for example, a group of officers beat a nam named David Silva to death while onlookers filmed the horrific event. Afterwards, however, the witnesses’ phones were ceased and this content was deleted. The Mobile Justice CA app eliminates the risk of lost footage because uploaded videos are automatically sent to the ACLU.
Community organizations can, then, request access to this video footage. More than just exposing any misconduct by law enforcement, the data acquired through the Mobile Justice app has the power to identify when law enforcement needs better training and highlight laws that are unjust and should thus be addressed by elected officials
Instead of viewing this app as a way to catch and persecute law enforcement officials, I see it as a way to persuade accountability and ignite a culture of regulated and calm behavior in the face of dispute. Which is of the utmost importance always, and especially prevalent these days.
You, too, can join the movement. Download the App HERE