Smartphone applications are becoming all the rage for local ACLU groups around the country.
Watch the Watchman
In June, the NYCLU released its Stop & Frisk Watch app for New York area bystanders to “monitor police activity and hold the NYPD accountable for unlawful stop-and-frisk encounters and other police misconduct.” The app allows people to:
- Record the police activity and add additional details after recording has stopped.
- Alerts others nearby about the police encounter, if they, too, have installed the app
- Report police actions to the NYCLU. It also includes “Know Your Rights” legal information
The app is available in English and Spanish on Google Play.
Once activated, the app runs unnoticeably while it secretly records the police encounter. Legal information is also provided. The app is currently free of charge and available for Android users on Google Play. Here is a YouTube video explaining how it works:
Politicians Gone Twitter
And recently, the ACLU of Michigan provided a Tweet generator that will automatically generate a snarky tweet to send to Michigan legislators pushing to limit medical options for women. This clever Twitter app allows users to craft their own medical questions or it will create a message for you, like this example:
The tweets are sent to three “Michigan politicians [who] so clearly ‘wanna be your doc’.”
Constitutional Status Update
On May 14, 2012 the U.S. Justice Department sent a letter to the Baltimore Police Department affirming citizens’ rights under the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution to record the police while on official duty.
This opinion is in line with rulings by federal appeals courts. The First Circuit Court and the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal have both ruled citizens have the right to record police activity in public settings.