The recent deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Freddy Gray in Baltimore, Maryland, and Walter Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina, highlight the problem of police brutality. It is a subject rife with tension and emotion. The American Civil Liberties Union in Michigan has developed a way for the public to help increase governmental accountability.
Yes, there’s an app for that!
Mobile Justice MI, is a free, downloadable app for mobile devices. It’s aimed at providing Michigan residents with a method for recording and uploading instances of police brutality or police misconduct. It has recording, witnessing, and reporting functions.
The Record function allows a person to capture an exchange between a police officer, or other law enforcement official, and themselves or another person. The recording is made in audio and video files. These are automatically and instantly uploaded to the ACLU’s database.
Next is the Witness function. This sends out an alert when a person is stopped or approached by a police officer. This way, other community members can quickly locate the exchange, if it is happening close by, and document the interaction.
And finally, the Report function allows the user to complete an incident report, if they believe the interaction requires further investigation. It can then be sent to the ACLU of Michigan for further review.
The app allows users to connect to the ACLU of Michigan’s database in order to access recordings, reports, podcasts and other information directly from the website. In addition, the app also has a “Know your rights” section. This provides a quick overview of exactly what a person’s rights are when interacting with police in Michigan. It is available in English, Spanish, and Arabic.
According to the ACLU’s website, their mission remains “realizing the promise of the Bill of Rights for all and expanding the reach of its guarantees to new areas through all the tools at our disposal: public education, advocacy, organizing, and litigation.”
At The Kronzek Firm, we have encountered our fair share of violent and abusive police officers who give a bad name to the honest and hard working majority of police. Perhaps with police misconduct reporting apps like this, along with the use of body cameras and other developments in modern technology, we can hope for a future free from abusive police. Instead, our police will be a force whose purpose truly is to serve and protect.
If you would like to download the app, it is available for Android and iOS, on the ACLU of Michigan website.