With as many videos that are downloaded, recorded via smartphone, and sent between people, it was only a matter of time till an app was developed to help people who want to report police brutality and instances of excessive force. According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) a new application has been released that will allow users to record the police in their interactions with the public and send them directly to the ACLU.
The debate over whether interactions between police and the public should be recorded has gained considerable attention over the last few years; especially the question of whether police should wear body cameras and when they should be turned on. A number of departments have adopted them, while others are ambivalent about their cost and utility, especially since dashboard cameras and personal microphones capture a great deal of interactions.
Nevertheless, the ACLU has launched the app in several locations, including Mississippi, New York City, Nebraska and Missouri. The app has three functions: record (which activates the phone’s camera and video functions, and allows the user to add commentary and information; witness (which activates the phone’s GPS system and notifies other people nearby to film the event); and report (where a user may fill out an incident report even though no recording took place).
The app’s designers and the ACLU hope that it will empower citizens to record what they see without fear of immediate or future reprisal. It may also help in making clear a person’s recollections when balanced against a police officer’s testimony.