ACLU offers app to help citizens record encounters with police - KPTV - FOX 12

ACLU offers app to help citizens record encounters with police

Posted: Updated:
Developers of the ACLU Mobile Justice app say the tool allows users to record video, submit incident reports of something they witnessed and alerts users when someone else has activated the app nearby. (KPTV) Developers of the ACLU Mobile Justice app say the tool allows users to record video, submit incident reports of something they witnessed and alerts users when someone else has activated the app nearby. (KPTV)
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

With tensions at an all-time high between police and the Black Lives Matter movement, the ACLU says its Mobile Justice app is being downloaded faster than ever.

The app allows users to record and save all police encounters they witness, and ACLU leaders say it is designed to be an empowerment tool.

Developers claim the app lets people know they have the right to film police doing their job in the public while also reminding the police that the eyes of the community are on them.

Nationwide, ACLU officials say some 500,000 people have downloaded the app among 18 different states.

"In the last week or so, we've had 700 downloads, and before we had 8,000 total in Oregon, so that was pretty big for us in just one week," Sarah Armstrong with the ACLU of Oregon explained.

Armstrong is part of the team that first launched the app in Oregon. She said volunteers receive videos daily from people in the Portland metro area who record their interactions with police.

Armstrong says no video they've seen so far shows any police misconduct happening in Portland.

"I think people are really concerned and really want to know what they can do to be a part of a solution," Armstrong said. "Everyone deserves fair and effective law enforcement, and I think when we see videos of unfair things happening, people are really energized and activated by that."

From the second a user hits record on the app, not only does the video save to their phone, but the file is automatically uploaded to the ACLU database.

The video is reviewed right away by volunteers who make sure everyone is safe. If it appears police crossed the line, the ACLU may take action.

Aside from recording video, the app allows people to submit an incident report of something they witnessed and alerts users when someone else has activated the app nearby.

All of the features in the app, Armstrong said, were designed to hold police accountable for their actions.

"I think it's clear that video and smartphones have changed the way the public understands policing, especially in communities of color," Armstrong said. "It's really remarkable the power that people hold in their hand, or their pocket, with these devices."

The ACLU does advise users to be careful when recording their own police encounter, and to always be clear about what they’re doing, especially if a user is reaching for their phone in a pocket.

The Mobile Justice app from the Oregon ACLU is available for free through the iPhone App Store or through the Google Play store for Android devices.

Copyright 2016 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly
FOX 12
Powered by WorldNow CNN
All content © 2017, KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation, Portland, OR . All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.