App gives citizens the power to record, report at push of a butt - WNEM TV 5

App gives citizens the power to record, report at push of a button

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The American Civil Liberties Union says it wants to make sure citizens are equipped with the best tools available for ensuring police are held accountable by offering the power to record and report an incident with the push of a button.

A video that shocked the nation shows 49-year-old Milton Hall, a mentally challenged Saginaw man living on the streets, collapsing in a hail of gunfire. The bullets were fired by the hands of police.

All of it was caught through the lens of a cell phone camera.

Rodd Monts is the field director for the Michigan Chapter of American Civil Liberties Union. He believes that cell phone video was an invaluable tool in bringing attention to the Milton Hall case.

“Milton Hall, caught on video, has drawn over 800,000 views. There has been an increase in incidents, police shootings,” Monts said.

Prosecutors cleared Saginaw Police of any wrong-doing in the shooting death that took place in this Saginaw parking lot. The video showed Milton was wielding a knife and not responding to orders.

“A tool like this would draw the interest, response has been considerable,” Monts said.

In light of recent incidents, the ACLU’s app, Mobile Justice, has seen an increase in people downloading it. The union says they've had 4,060 downloads. 

It's only available in 17 states and Washington, D.C. and it makes recording possible civil rights violations easy.

It has three main functions, record, witness and report. With Mobile Justice, people can capture what they believe to be civil rights violations by police.

That evidence is then sent directly to the ACLU.

“The intent of the app is to provide law enforcement encounters, to use to record interactions of others,” Monts said.

Issues like that of the case of Milton Hall, a situation that may not have received the attention it did had that cell video never existed.

To find the Mobile Justice app, just click here

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