Target: American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri Executive Director Jeffrey Mittman
Goal: Praise development of app for recording and reporting civil rights violations committed by police
According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri (ACLU-MO), the months following the tragic shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson have brought a huge wave of new reports of police harassment. In response, the organization has developed a new mobile application that provides information on citizens’ rights and allows them to record and report information about police stops. At a recent press conference to unveil the app, ACLU-MO Advocacy and Policy Director Sarah Rossi referred to the success of the New York Civil Liberties Union’s 2012 Stop and Frisk Watch app, which has been downloaded over 30,000 times. She said that in two years “the New York Police Department’s use of street stops has declined by more than half…These numbers tell us that this type of app is sorely needed and can positively impact our communities.”
The ACLU-MO is releasing this app, which was funded by the national ACLU and created by the maker of the Stop and Frisk Watch app, in tandem with ACLU branches in Nebraska, Oregon, and Mississippi. The app is available free for Android phones on the ACLU-MO’s website, and contains vital information for citizens who are stopped by the police. Beyond this “Know Your Rights” information, users can send an alert when they or others are stopped, record footage of police stops which will be automatically sent to the ACLU, and file an incident report that will be reviewed by the organization. ACLU-MO is hopeful that this app will see similar success to the New York app, and empower citizens to hold police accountable when they misuse their power. With this app, citizens have the tools to create their own records of what happens at police stops, and are not left with mere hearsay evidence when it comes to courtroom investigations in the event of an improperly conducted stop.
Thank the ACLU-MO for recognizing the need for these citizen empowerment tools, and for taking the initiative to make them available for communities that need them most.
Dear Jeffrey Mittman,
I am overjoyed by the ACLU’s recent release of a police-recording mobile application in Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon, and Mississippi. Apps like these are driving citizen empowerment these days, since they are able to provide information and location data instantly. With the “Know Your Rights” information and the automatic delivery of police stop footage to the ACLU, this app already provides multiple ways for citizens to guard themselves against encroachment by law enforcement officers whose power has gone to their heads.
Thank you and the ACLU for recognizing the need for this app, and for putting these important tools in citizens’ hands. Thank you for acknowledging that local police departments must be held accountable, if not by internal review boards then by citizens taking legal action against police harassment. I urge you to recommend that this app be made available in other states, as well as in an online tool for those without smartphones.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Jesse.macadangdang via Wikimedia Commons