LOS ANGELES (AP) – A new smartphone app allows Californians who record encounters with police to automatically submit the video to their local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.
The ACLU said Thursday that California is the latest state where the free “Mobile Justice” app is available on both Apple and Android phones.
The technology enables users to record and upload video of law enforcement encounters so that ACLU lawyers can look for due-process violations, according to the organization. The goal is to ensure that video of potential police misconduct is preserved, even if a cellphone is tampered with or destroyed.
“The concerns over police practices, including racial profiling and excessive use of force, are very real for communities across the state,” said Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California. “This app will help serve as a check on abuse.”
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck has said his officers always assume they’re being videotaped and that the public has a right to do so as long as they’re not interfering with police work.
The ACLU said those who submit videos can remain anonymous and their personal information would not be retained by the organization. Officials said the ACLU could make public the videos that are received via the app.
The recent string of controversial police killings nationwide have shown the importance of video captured by civilians, the ACLU said.
Cellphone video recorded the killing of a homeless man by Los Angeles police during a confrontation on Skid Row in March. The incident led to several protests. The family of Charly Leundeu Keunang this week filed a $20 million claim against the city. Authorities have said the man refused to obey their commands and reached for an officer’s gun. The officers were placed on leave, pending the investigation.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press.