ACLU ‘mobile justice’ app records, automatically sends video
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — With continued unrest nationwide following the deaths of two black men and five police officers, video has become critical. The American Civil Liberties Union is promoting its smartphone app that films and automatically sends video to their state office.
It’s called Mobile Justice, a free app launched in Michigan in June 2015 as well as in 17 states and Washington, D.C. Once downloaded, just press record. As soon as the filming stops, the app automatically sends the recording to the state ACLU office corresponding with the app (i.e. Mobile Justice MI).
“It puts a modicum of justice at your fingertips. It certainly gives you the power to make a record of what’s happening in your community,” said Darrell Dawsey, ACLU of Michigan communications director. “We think this is critically important. We can obtain that video even if the police do something to damage your phone or confiscate your phone.”
In line with the Grand Rapid Police Department and city’s 12-point community-police relations plan, Sgt. Terry Dixon with the GRPD says their officers respect the citizen’s right to record an officer, just as their body cameras record the public.
“Every officer is employed with the body-worn camera, so being recorded or recording is nothing that’s new,” said Dixon. “As far as other people recording us, we just ask that people do it in a safe manner.”
Dixon reiterated officers want anyone filming to leave a safe distance between themselves and the incident and to make sure they are filming from a safe spot. He says video is improving their department’s transparency and law enforcement overall.
“Video is really making law enforcement efforts even better,” said Dixon. “I think that being transparent makes us more of us a better police department all together.”
Dawsey says ACLU of Michigan representatives look at all video that comes in and will reach out to the sender if they feel the video warrants assistance.