“Police Tape,” builds on work done by OpenWatch.net with their “Cop Recorder” and “OpenWatch Recorder” programs. ACLU-NJ’s release adds even more helpful content, like legal advice on citizens’ rights during police encounters.
“This app provides an essential tool for police accountability,” ACLU-NJ Executive Director Deborah Jacobs said in an advisory. “Too often incidents of serious misconduct go unreported because citizens don’t feel that they will be believed. Here, the technology empowers citizens to place a check on police power directly.”
ACLU-NJ recommends that only New Jersey residents use the app due to certain states still trying to criminalize the act of citizens recording police in public. The app’s terms and conditions also recommend that users consult an attorney before publishing any recordings online.
A version of the app for iOS devices was still awaiting approval from Apple.
“Historically, vivid images of police mistreating citizens have seared our public consciousness and in some cases spurred important changes,” ACLU-NJ Policy Counsel Alexander Shalom explained. “Photos and video are critical to ensuring police accountability and police should know that the eyes of the public are on them at all times.”
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