ACLU encouraging people to use Mobile Justice app to record interactions with police

Advocates say the process keeps videos safe from being deleted, while also being accessible.
Updated: Apr. 26, 2021 at 7:43 AM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - After the Derek Chauvin trail, some people want to see more accountability for police officers who act outside of the law.

To help ease tensions during traffic stops, protests or public spaces, the American Civil Liberties Union created an app that can record and automatically send videos during pivotal moments involving law enforcement agencies.

The ACLU's Mobile Justice app can record and automatically send videos during pivotal moments...
The ACLU's Mobile Justice app can record and automatically send videos during pivotal moments involving law enforcement agencies.(ACLU)

A recent CBS News Poll revealed that while most Americans have mostly positive views of their local police, some are still uneasy about law enforcement.

The data showed that African Americans rate police in a more positive light, rather than negative, but they are less likely than white residents to say their local police are doing a “very good” job.

CBS Poll
CBS Poll(CBS NEWS)

“Go ahead and record what’s happening. You have the right to do that as a bystander,” Communications Director Candace Coleman said.

The group wants more phones to have the Mobile Justice app, a program that’s been around since 2014 aimed at filming police interactions if rights are potentially violated.

“It was created as a way to hold police accountable,” Coleman said. “If you feel uncomfortable, if you feel like something is going wrong or you’re unsure about how things will be told after it’s happening, go ahead and record.”

Once someone shoots a video on their phone, it’s then sent to the nearest ACLU branch where a legal team reviews it for any infractions. Advocates say the process keeps videos safe from being deleted, while also being accessible, something that isn’t always the case with police bodycams or dashcams.

“We can’t always trust that it’s something that will be accessible to the public when it needs to be accessible to the public,” Coleman said.

The app can even send the video to three contacts from your phone and stays up-to-date with information regarding rights.

“It’s very simple. It’s very intuitive,” Coleman said.

The app is also getting attention from South Mississippi leaders, including the two candidates looking to be the democratic nominee for the Moss Point mayor seat.

“I think it’s a game changer for accountability,” candidate Jeramey Anderson said.

Both Anderson and candidate Billy Knight see the advantages the app can bring and the power videos can have in cases of police brutality.

“If it had not been for that video with the Chauvin case with George Floyd, we probably wouldn’t have had that trial at all,” Knight said.

They also say the app can help keep everyone in the community safe and accountable.

“We can’t look at it just as a constituent or just as a community member but also to protect our police force as well,” Anderson said.

Overall, people see the app as a tool that more people should be aware of.

“Everything that we can have to enhance the notification of safety, then I’m with that,” Knight said.

The Mobile Justice app can be found in both the Apple and Google Play app stores.

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