ACLU-NC Releases Phone App to Hold Police Accountable
RALEIGH, N.C. - The ACLU of North Carolina today launched Mobile Justice NC, a free smart phone app that allows North Carolinians to automatically record and submit cell phone videos to the ACLU of North Carolina when they believe law enforcement officers are violating civil rights.
Mobile Justice NC is available for use on Android and iOS phones in English and Spanish. The videos recorded by the app will be transmitted to the ACLU-NC and preserved even if the user’s phone is later seized or destroyed.
“Our office receives hundreds of calls each year from people describing bad encounters with the police,” said Carolyna Caicedo Manrique, staff attorney for the ACLU of North Carolina. “This tool gives North Carolinians the ability to serve as a check on police abuse when they believe it is occurring, allowing users to record and document any interaction with law enforcement.”
Mobile Justice NC can be downloaded free through Apple’s App Store or Google Play. It enables users to register, record, witness and report interactions with law enforcement and includes information on individual rights.
- Record allows individuals to capture exchanges with police officers and other law enforcement officials in audio and video files that are automatically sent to the ACLU of North Carolina.
- Witness sends out an alert to anyone with the app, giving them the option to go to the location and document the encounter when police stop someone.
- Report allows the app user to complete an incident report and send it directly to the ACLU for review.
- Know Your Rights provides an overview of what rights protect you when you are stopped by law enforcement officers.
While Mobile Justice NC is intended for use by bystanders, the ACLU of North Carolina recognizes that some users may want to use it while they are involved in a police encounter. Anyone interacting with law enforcement should announce that they are reaching for a phone, and that they are attempting to access the app to record the exchange. Users’ safety depends on their ability to clearly communicate any actions they take and remain calm.
The ACLU of North Carolina will be working with community organizations to provide “Know Your Rights” trainings on how to use the app as well as basic rights related to interactions with law enforcement. We encourage groups to contact us to arrange trainings available in English and Spanish.
For more information, including a video explainer, and to download the app, visit acluofnc.org/app.
Mobile Justice apps have been released by ACLU state affiliates across the country, including those in California, Michigan, Missouri, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Oregon, with other ACLU state affiliates planning to release their own versions later this year. The apps are modeled after the New York Civil Liberties Union’s Stop and Frisk app and developed by Jason Van Anden of Quadrant 2, Inc.
The ACLU of North Carolina is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to preserving and expanding the guarantees of individual liberty found in the United States and North Carolina Constitutions and related federal and state civil rights laws. With more than 12,000 members and supporters throughout the state and an office located in Raleigh, the organization achieves its mission through advocacy, public education, community outreach, and when necessary, litigation. Visit acluofnc.org for more information.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) conserves America's original civic values working in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in the United States by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.