Activist New Yorkers have long complained of excessive violence by the New York police when they stop and frisk individuals - it is often alleged that the individuals who are subject to this are disproportionately young minority men.
There's a new app in town that may cause police officers to think twice. The New York Civil Liberties Union worked in conjunction with software developer Jason Van Anden who developed the Occupy Wall Street app "I'm Getting Arrested" to come up with the "Stop and Frisk Watch" app. The app is available in English and in Spanish.
Currently available only for Android phones, an iPhone version will be released later this summer. The app allows a phone's user to film an incident with audio by pushing a trigger on the phone's frame. It is intended for use by witnesses who are watching an encounter with the police.
The listen mode allows users to know when someone in their vicinity is being stopped by police, particularly useful for community groups who monitor police activity. Once recorded, the video and a survey that the user fills out are sent to the NYCLU which will use the data to hold the police accountable.
I'm sure the police are less than thrilled by the development of this app. But if they follow proper procedures, there should be no cause for alarm. It is clear from reports filed thus far that a little sunlight shining on stop and frisk encounters is badly needed.
You can get the app here.
Hat tip to Sean Smith from the New York Prosecutors Training Institute.
E-mail: <email@example.com Phone: 703-359-0700