- Associated Press - Thursday, October 29, 2015

DENVER (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union in Colorado launched a free mobile app Wednesday to encourage people to film and send recordings of police interactions with the public to the organization.

The app is already available in nine other states, including California, Michigan, and Missouri. In Missouri, the ACLU released the app to be used during protests in Ferguson after a grand jury declined to indict white police Officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black man.

The app allows users to upload content to the organization in real time so the material will be saved even if the recording is stopped for whatever reason. The ACLU expects another 11 states to launch apps before the end of the year, said John Krieger, spokesman for the organization’s Colorado chapter.

Law enforcement officials in Colorado have said they support people’s right to record police in public and that they do not object to the ACLU’s app, which is called “Mobile Justice CO.”

The ACLU says citizens’ recordings of police are increasingly becoming an accountability tool.

“We must remember that it is the cameras in our own hands, the cameras that so many of us now carry with us every day, that are the greatest protection against abuses of police power,” said Nathan Woodliff-Stanley, the executive director of the ACLU in Colorado. He cited as an example the April shooting death of Walter Scott in South Carolina. A bystander’s cellphone video showed North Charleston officer Michael Slager firing eight times as Scott ran away from a traffic stop.

“No one would know about Walter Scott in South Carolina if someone had not filmed what happened there,” Woodliff-Stanley said.

The most recent recording of law enforcement to go viral also happened in South Carolina, where a Richland County sheriff’s deputy was captured on video Monday flipping a 16-year-old girl out of her desk at her math class. Sheriff Leon Lott fired the deputy and urged the public to take more videos of law enforcement, saying, “Our citizens should police the police.”

Krieger said states where the ACLU app is launched typically see tens of thousands of downloads after it becomes available. In southern California, the ACLU’s biggest affiliate, hundreds of thousands of people have downloaded the app, Krieger said.

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Online:

Mobile Justice Colorado: https://aclu-co.org/know-your-rights/mobilejustice/

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