MILWAUKEE - In 2015, a handful of American Civil Liberties Union affiliates introduced the Mobile Justice app, which allows users to send videos of police misconduct incidents directly to the ACLU, and now a new and improved version of that app is available in Wisconsin. Since the ACLU re-launched the app, more than 600,000 people have downloaded it nationwide.
“Video has proven to be an important tool in working against police violence on people of color,” said Chris Ott, executive director of the ACLU of Wisconsin.“Without video, the death of George Floyd would have been just another lie in a police report instead of a nationwide rallying cry for justice. Video unfortunately has not stopped these incidents, but it helps authorities and the general public understand the problem and the need for accountability.”
The upgraded version of Mobile Justice has these features:
- It allows each user to specify the state ACLU affiliate that will receive videos recorded using the app. Sending the video to an affiliate ensures that the video will be preserved, even if the phone is seized or destroyed.
- The app now allows users to add three people who will automatically receive videos recorded by the app. Those three designated people can flag and verify video for the ACLU to review.
- The user can add details of an incident recorded on the app, including identification of officers involved and witness contact information.
- Once an ACLU affiliate is chosen by the user, Know Your Rights information, tailored to the laws in that state, is sent to the person’s phone. This informs the user of the specific local rights to protest and record video of incidents as well as the entire library of the ACLU’s Know Your Rights.
Mobile Justice is not just a powerful tool to record and report law enforcement abuses, it can also aid in preventing them.
"We hope that when police know their actions are being recorded, it can help defuse a situation,” Ott said. “That could turn out to be the most valuable benefit of Mobile Justice.”