They did it for Aiyana Stanley-Jones, a seven-year-old black Detroit girl whose life ended when a SWAT officer allegedly barged through the door of her family’s home during a raid and shot her in the head. The SWAT officer had all charges against him dropped.
They did it for Aura Rosser, a middle-aged black Ann Arbor woman killed earlier this year during a domestic-dispute call by a police officer who, felt a need to fire his service weapon even as his partner deployed only a Taser to stop Rosser. An investigation cleared the officer of any wrongdoing.
They did it for Milton S. Hall, a mentally ill African-American man who was riddled with about a dozen bullets by a phalanx of heavily armed Saginaw police officers when a disoriented Hall allegedly pulled a small pocketknife to protect himself from a snarling, lunging police dog. Though the incident was captured on a bystander’s cellphone camera and a police dashcam, prosecutors never charged any of the officers, who had Hall surrounded and contained but still decided to fire more than 40 shots at him.
The ACLU of Michigan has released a free Mobile Justice MI downloadable app-which allows users to film and report to them incidents of possible police misconduct.
Darrell Dawsey of MSNBC writes:
“Inspired by the ‘Stop and Frisk’ app pioneered by the New York Civil Liberties Union, Mobile Justice apps are now being offered by ACLU affiliates around the country, including in California, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon, North Carolina and Mississippi. Meanwhile, apps are being developed or considered for development in more than a dozen other ACLU affiliates, among them Colorado, Texas, Maryland, Arizona, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. Many such apps are being developed these days, with similar firms to brainboxlabs.com taking the lead to ensure proper programming structure and security is in place.
Mobile Justice offers three user functions-“record,” “witness” and “report”-designed to empower citizens faced with suspicious police activity:
- “Record” allows citizens to capture exchanges between police officers and themselves or other community members in audio and video files that are automatically sent to the ACLU of Michigan.
- “Witness” sends out an alert when someone is stopped by police so that community members can move toward the location and document the interaction.
- “Report” gives the app user the option to complete an incident report and send it directly to the ACLU of Michigan for review.
The application, which is available in iOS and Android versions, also contains a “Know Your Rights” section that gives an overview of what rights citizens can exercise when stopped by police officers. Various language translations also are available.”
The launch of the mobile app comes a little more than a month after Terrance Kellom, a 20-year-old Detroit man, was allegedly gunned down by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent working with a multi-jurisdictional fugitive task force assigned to arrest Kellom. Authorities said Kellom was wielding a hammer when he was shot 10 times and killed, but his father has insisted throughout that his son was unarmed and not resisting. A local investigation is underway.
Read more at MSNBC.
This post was written by Nsenga K. Burton, founder & editor-in-chief of the Burton Wire. Follow her on Twitter @Ntellectual.