The American Civil Liberties Union has already provided a way for citizens to discretely capture their interactions with law enforcers with its Police Tape app. Now the Stop & Frisk Watch app coming out of New York is making it easier for passersby to record instances of the police stopping and searching local residents.
According to Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union that created the app, “The NYPD’s own data shows that the overwhelming majority of people subjected to stop-and-frisk are black or Latino, and innocent of any wrongdoing.” With Stop & Frisk Watch, community members can easily record any cases of searching they witness on the street. Once a recording is complete, users fill out a survey detailing what happened and the video and information is sent to the NYCLU. Residents can also set the app to alert them whenever someone starts filming a stop-and-search nearby. This enables them to visit the site of the incident, monitor police activity and potentially volunteer as a witness on the scene should the situation escalate to the courtroom. The app also includes basic human rights facts to make New Yorkers more aware of their entitlement to fair treatment.
Hoping to break down the mistrust that is caused by police deaprtment’s racial profiling across the US, Stop & Frisk Watch can provide evidence in case an abuse of power occurs and helps the NYCLU promote a renewed look at current policy. How else can citizens use technology to empower themselves and their community?