A civil rights watchdog is inviting Minnesotans to download a new smartphone app aimed at keeping an eye on "law enforcement misconduct."
The free app, called Mobile Justice MN, was made available by the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota (ACLU-MN) on Friday morning, WCCO reports.
The program comes amid heightened scrutiny of law enforcement following highly publicized incidents of alleged police brutality in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York. An example of this is the introduction of police body cameras to law enforcement agencies across the country, and many right here in Minnesota.
"Communities across the U.S. continue to suffer from over-policing, racial profiling and excessive use of force," ACLU-MN says. "The Mobile Justice MN app is one way you can put a check on law enforcement misconduct wherever, whenever."
Here's a video showing how the app works:
According to the group, Mobile Justice lets users "record and submit" police-involved incidents on their phones and send videos "directly and securely" to the Minnesota ACLU. Additionally, those with the app on their phones will receive "instant location alerts" when "fellow app users" witness an incident nearby.
"I think that it will empower ordinary citizens to hold police accountable, Teresa Nelson, ACLU MN legal director, told KARE 11. "That's something that we expect as a community - that police will be accountable and this video might capture both misconduct as well as exemplary actions by police."
But those in law enforcement have their concerns about the new app, but it's not what you might expect.
According to WCCO, some police leaders in the Twin Cities don't have any problem with the video-recording aspect of Mobile Justice, but the fact that the app invites other citizens to "flock" to a scene that may still be "hot."
However, Minneapolis Police Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Federation, told FOX 9 that Mobile Justice is "not needed," and is "just the ACLU causing trouble. Doing more to deteriorate police community relations."
Mobile Justice is also available in multiple other states through local ACLU branches.