In today’s digital age, knowledge can and should be used as a weapon. Knowing your rights and having the ability to protect others' rights by documenting injustice are just two of the ways that we can help combat police brutality. Check out the three apps below. Each one helps us to become better informed citizens and allows us to proactively work to protect ourselves from those who are supposed to serve and protect.
User: The engaged community member.
System: Android and IOS
Five-0 was designed to help citizens review officer and police department conduct and give ratings. The app was developed by three teens — Ima, Asha, and Caleb Christian — from Georgia and released in 2014.The goal for these teens wasn’t simply to document police abuses, but to also give props to good cops, and to allow cops to highlight the different forms of outreach done in their respective communities. An app such as Five-0 is invaluable due to its ability to build a database that people can use to proactively work to punish police officers with a track record of abuse.
2. I’m Getting Arrested
User: The activist.
The I’m getting Arrested app was designed for one simple purpose: to notify your network via SMS when you have been taken into custody by police. The app was specifically designed for Occupy protestors. All a user has to do is create a pre-defined message and click a button once they realize they are getting arrested, and the app automatically sends a text for help. In today’s world, peaceful protests and police brutality go hand in hand, and activists need to be able to alert others when a potentially dangerous interaction occurs. Downloading this app works as a bat signal to those who are able to help if you find yourself in the custody of the police, and thus can help to ensure your safety.
3. Hands Up For Justice
Hands Up For Justice allows users to videotape their interactions with the police and publish them to YouTube. While recording an incident, the app will appear as if no recording is taking place so that users are able to remain inconspicuous. Users can also create a Dropbox account where recorded videos can be saved and shared with contacts. Recordings publish what is recorded at two minute intervals, so that if a violent incident happens, it can be viewed within the two minutes in which it occurred. This is to avoid users having 30 minutes of footage for an altercation that only lasts a few seconds. The ability to record police brutality is an important tool for holding police accountable after an incident of brutality. But keep in mind that when in the streets, safety should come first.
Taking care of ourselves and those around us in the moment when a violent incident is happening should always be more important than getting an incident on tape. Prevention is the best remedy and addressing these issue of police misconduct through education and community organizing head on is so much important than sharing and recording a video after the fact. It’s important that we do not stand by idly and wait for tragedy to strike before mobilizing and taking action. Let's educate and inspire now.
Elizabeth Aguirre is a technology professional with more than 8 years experience working in the software industry. Currently, Elizabeth is pursuing an M.S. in E-commerce at DePaul University and works as a consultant for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing in Chicago. She is on a one-woman mission to empower small business owners through the use of technology. When she's not being a cool mom to her daughter Esther, she enjoys tweeting and meditation.