See someone getting stopped by cops?
The New York Civil Liberties Union wants you to pull out your phone and record it.
The NYCLU announced today "Stop and Frisk Watch," a free smart phone app that allows New Yorkers to record cops stopping people on the street.
The app allows users to record the incident, and when filming stops, users complete a survey with details about what they saw. Both will be sent to the NYCLU, which will track the data.
Also, users will be notified when a police stop is happening near them, logged by another user.
“Stop and Frisk Watch is about empowering individuals and community groups to confront abusive, discriminatory policing,” NYCLU executive director Donna Lieberman said.
The application will also include a section about knowing your rights --
telling people what to do if they are stopped, like not making
statements to the police without an attorney present.
The police stopped nearly 700,000 people in the five boroughs last year, according to the NYCLU.
Critics say that stop-and-frisk tactics overwhelmingly target black and Latino New Yorkers, and that nine out of 10 people are innocent – let go without a ticket or arrest, according to the NYCLU.
Last month, the NYCLU reported that more minority teens were stopped in 2011 than actually live in the city.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has defended stop-and-frisk, saying it keeps guns off the streets and nabs criminals. But he promised last month to fine-tune the program.
Just this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo suggested legislation that would no longer mean an arrest for people who show police officers small amounts of pot from their pocket during stop-and-frisks.
The app is available in English and Spanish, and is available for Androids – an iPhone version will be ready later this summer.
The NYLCU notes that the app is intended for people witnessing, not experiencing, a police stop.
Jason Van Anden, a Brooklyn visual artist and software developer, helped develop the app. Van Anden also created Occupy Wall Street's "I'm Getting Arrested" application.