ACLU Texas launches video app for police accountability

Police accountability app launches Friday

AUSTIN - The Texas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union will launch their 'ACLU Blue' mobile app on Friday.

The app is designed to take the guesswork out of police interactions and offers immediate access to users' legal rights, advice and a streaming film tool to increase visibility.

ACLU Texas Senior Policy Strategist Matt Simpson said that they constantly see cases where "the public is clamoring to figure out what happened. We're stuck with a 'he said, she said' kind of situation."

Their goal, Simpson said, is to get Texans on the app and recording any interactions they have or see between the public and law enforcement.

"Our hope is that we'll just live in a time where we don't have to debate what happened," he said. "We can debate whether the actions were appropriate or we can highlight moments where the officer did the right thing."

All video taken on the app will be stored on the user's phone, but also streamed live to ACLU-run servers where ACLU members will review the videos and post them to YouTube if they are of legitimate law enforcement interactions.

Simpson said that the tool will be useful for police accountability, but also highlighted its potential to shine a positive light on law enforcement.

"We don't keep track of non-arrest numbers, we keep track of arrest numbers," he said. "This is a whole separate world that we may or may not be capturing....This app should provide people the opportunity to say 'atta boy' for cops that do a good job as well."

The app can be found at the iTunes store and on the Google Play Store

A statement by the ACLU Texas chapter can be read below:
 
"Today, the ACLU of Texas announced the launch of ACLU Blue, a police accountability smartphone application that allows users to join an interactive, online community committed to documenting excessive uses of force, racial profiling and over - militarized responses by law enforcement—as well as showcase and elevate examples of model policing in Texas communities. The app is available for use in Texas on the Android and iTunes app stores in English and Spanish.
 
Through the ACLU Blue app, users will be able to record police interactions or upload videos recorded with other video applications. Once uploaded, the videos will be reviewed by “deputies” to verify the footage does indeed document a police interaction, after which it will be reviewed by ACLU of Texas staff and released to the public via YouTube. The app also features Know Your Rights information educating users on "What to do if Stopped by Police," "Your Right to Film Police" and "Your Rights at the Border."

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