By Bill Farrar Director of Public Policy & Communications
Do you have Mobile Justice? You should.
Mobile Justice is the ACLU of Virginia’s “people’s bodycam” smart phone application. It allows users to send video of law enforcement interactions to us for review, along with an optional but helpful incident report.
Given the alarming number of instances of police abuse across the country documented by victims or witnesses on their phone cameras, the need for the app is quite real. All too often private videos of police situations somehow disappear once someone’s phone is confiscated. Worse, sometimes phones are damaged or destroyed.
Since the ACLU-VA launched Mobile Justice in November, more than 4,050 people have installed it on their devices. Hundreds of videos have been submitted for review. None yet have warranted legal action on the part of the ACLU-VA, however.
That’s not a bad thing. After all, we don’t want incidents of police abuse to happen. Our biggest hope is that – as is the case with police body-worn cameras – awareness that a camera is rolling will help everyone involved be on their best behavior.
Peaceful protesters have taken notice. On Saturday, Feb. 20, hundreds of environmental advocates took to the steps of the state capitol to protest a recent permit to let Dominion Virginia Power dump coal ash into the James River. Legal observers were there, armed with Mobile Justice. Similar precautions were taken when presumed Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump held a rally at the Richmond Coliseum not long after violence broke out between rally-goers and protesters at a similar event in San Jose, Calif.
The app also lets users help protect others. With “Witness Mode” on, the app will let users know when someone else nearby is filming a law enforcement interaction so they can go to the scene and take their own video.
In addition, Mobile Justice has a handy “Know Your Rights” section to help users understand what they should and should not do during a police encounter.
Lastly, the app lets the ACLU of Virginia send users push notifications about important criminal justice matters in Virginia. We promise not to do this too often, but it will be helpful when there is an urgent matter with which we need your help.
Need more reasons to install Mobile Justice today, if you haven’t already? It’s free and available for iPhone and Android devices.
Get Mobile Justice now!
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