ACLU launches phone app to record police in D.C. area

The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, D.C., has created a mobile-phone app that will let people record their encounters with police, as the nation debates whether and how to require cops to wear body cameras.

The free app designed by ACLU dubbed "Mobile Justice" is available in English and Spanish for Android and iOS phones, and allows users in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia to record videos of police interactions and submit the footage directly to the nonprofit organization. Doing so will create an incident report that will eventually be reviewed by the ACLU.

"The concerns over police practices, including racial profiling and excessive use of force, are very real for communities across the District," Monica Hopkins-Maxwell, executive director of ACLU-DC, said in a statement. "This app will help serve as a tool of accountability, allowing District residents to record and report any interaction with law enforcement."

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"From Eric Garner to Walter Scott, to Jason Goolsby, we've seen video publicly expose police misconduct that otherwise could have passed by unnoticed," Hopkins-Maxwell said. "Providing members of the public with an easily accessible tool to record law enforcement will help deter misconduct and record abuse when it does happen, so that the system can be held accountable."

The filming of police officers interacting with the public is legal in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, so officers have no reasonable expectation of privacy when doing so.

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