Tag: ACLU

ACLU of California Launches Cellphone App to Preserve Videos of Police

A homeless man on skid row was shot to death last month during an altercation with Los Angeles police. Cellphone video captured the incident. (Los Angeles Police Department)
A homeless man on skid row was shot to death last month during an altercation with Los Angeles police. Cellphone video captured the incident. (Los Angeles Police Department)

Californians who use their cellphones to record police encounters with the public on video will be able to automatically transmit them directly to their local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union using a smartphone application launched Thursday.

By using the Mobile Justice CA app to send recordings to the ACLU, leaders of the organization said, people can ensure that video of potential police misconduct is preserved, even if their cellphone is tampered with or destroyed.

“We’re merging the power of technology with the power of the ACLU and the power of the people,” Hector Villagra, the executive director for the ACLU of Southern California, told reporters Thursday. “We are so proud to put an innovative new tool in people’s hands, empowering people to know, to assert and to protect their rights.”

Peter Bibring, a senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Southern California, told The Times that work on the app began before the recent national outcry over how police officers use force, particularly against black men. But, he said, the recent string of controversial police killings have shown the importance – and impact – of civilian-captured video.

“As we’ve seen in headlines over the previous few months, recordings by members of the public is a crucial check on police abuse,” Bibring said. “We’ve seen a number of examples of high-profile incidents of abuse and unlawful shootings or killings that never would have come to light if someone wouldn’t have pulled out their phone and taken video.”

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Los Angeles Police Commission Votes 3-1 to Approve Policy on LAPD Body Cameras

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LAPD Officer Jin Oh displays video from a body camera. Some residents have raised privacy and civil liberties questions about the use of the devices. (Photo: Marcus Yam/ latimes.com)

The Los Angeles Police Commission voted Tuesday to approve a policy for equipping officers with body cameras, moving the LAPD a step closer to becoming the nation’s largest law enforcement agency to adopt the widespread use of the devices.

The 3-1 vote occurred after a sometimes-heated discussion over whether officers should be allowed to review video from the cameras before writing reports or giving statements to investigators following serious force incidents.

Civil libertarians opposed allowing officers to review the footage, though LAPD officials said investigators may prevent officers from looking at the video following force incidents that might result in a criminal investigation of the officers.

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