Mobile app to record police conduct may launch in Florida

ACLU looking into launching app by the end of year
Posted at 7:07 PM, Jul 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-12 06:28:15-04

"Mobile Justice" could be making its way to the Sunshine State. The American Civil Liberties Union launched the app last year designed to give people the option to record and report encounters with police to the ACLU, if they feel their rights were violated.

So far, eight states have launched the Mobile Justice App and a spokesperson says Floridians may have access to it by the end of the year.

The main function of the app is designed to record interactions with police. Once a user hits the "stop" bottom, the video is immediately sent to the ACLU, even if the device being used to record is confiscated or destroyed.

The reporting feature allows a user to add any additional information about what was seen or heard during the interaction, even if a witness doesn't film it. All submissions are sent to the union anonymously, but the user does have the choice to submit their contact information so a representative with the ACLU can contact them for additional details, if needed.

The witness feature allows you to know if people around you are getting stopped by police. When others in the area are using the app, you get a message where the police stop is happening. If the dot by the feature turns green, it means the listening feature is activated.

Abizer Ghadiali is a criminal attorney is Fort Myers. He tells Four In Your Corner an additional camera view may help show a fuller picture of what takes place during interactions.

"It would be clear to see who is right and who is wrong," Ghadiali said. "Without that video documentation, you have to take the cops word for it. For whatever, they write down on that report. People are always going to second guess, so if it was on camera for both sides, it would be clear for both sides."

Once a video is submitted, a legal team reviews the footage, and holds on to it anywhere from 30 to 90 days. The team determines if the rights of the person who encountered the officer were violated.

Jim Wright says he doesn't see a problem with the app. Others, who declined to go on camera, told FOX 4 they weren't sure if it would be a good idea because of recent happenings.

"Whether it be the officer or the civilian, everybody gets protected," Jim Wright said. "Whoever is in the right is protected at that point."

"I think cops are good but there are bad apples in every bunch," Shelly Cappa said. "In the event someone comes across one then that app would help out."

A spokesperson with the ACLU tells Four In Your Corner the Florida Chapter has been talking about launching the app at the end of the year. A department within the state union would allocate funds to launch and help execute the services the app offers.