The New York Civil Liberties Union has announced a new free smartphone application called Stop and Frisk Watch which encourages innocent bystanders to record police traffic stops in order to spot any human rights violations.
The app came about in response to the states “stop and frisk” activity which mostly targets minorities and almost never results in arrests.
In a statement regarding the apps release NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman revealed:
“Stop and Frisk Watch is about empowering individuals and community groups to confront abusive, discriminatory policing. The NYPD’s own data shows that the overwhelming majority of people subjected to stop-and-frisk are black or Latino, and innocent of any wrongdoing. At a time when the [Mayor Mike] Bloomberg administration vigorously defends the status quo, our app will allow people to go beyond the data to document how each unjustified stop further corrodes trust between communities and law enforcement.”
The app serves three purposes, first users can create video and audio recordings from police stops, second they can send those files to the NYCLU and third they can use a “listen” button which will tell them which areas people are being stopped at in real-time.
The Stop and Frisk Watch app comes about at a time when police stops have increased from 2002 through 2001 at a rate of 600 percent. All together 685,724 traffic stops were made in 2011. Those stops included 87 percent black or Latino residents.
In the meantime the NYPD says the app will only serve to help criminals as the “listen” function points out routine police barriers.