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NYCLU releases iPhone app to document stop-and-frisks

Jamaica's 103rd Precinct ranked among the city's Top 10 in 2011 for stop-and-frisks. The New York Civil Liberties Union last week released an iPhone application that allows users to document police stops.
TimesLedger Newspapers

The New York Civil Liberties Union last week released an iPhone version of the stop-and-frisk application the group said has documented 200 videos of police encounters since it was unveiled for Android phones over the summer.

“While we’ve yet to see a ‘Rodney King’ moment, Stop and Frisk Watch submissions have confirmed a number of concerns the NYCLU has about stop-and-frisk abuse and has provided New Yorkers with a powerful tool to document police abuse,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said. “We’re proud that the app is used every day in New York City and that the attention it has received has encouraged people to document and expose police activity with their smartphones.”

In 2011, the 115th Precinct in the Jackson Heights area and Jamaica’s 103rd Precinct had some of the highest numbers of stop-and-frisks in the city. The NYPD said stop-and-frisks were down 14 percent citywide in 2012, but did not release numbers for individual precincts.

“Stop and Frisk Watch empowers New Yorkers to confront abusive, discriminatory policing,” Lieberman said. “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. Our smartphone app allows individuals and community groups to document in real time how each unjustified stop further corrodes trust between communities and law enforcement.”

The app allows the user to film an interaction with audio and send it, along with a survey providing details of the incident, to the NYCLU. The group said it reviews every submission and investigates inappropriate acts.

It also has a feature that alerts a user when people in the vicinity are using the app, a function the NYCLU said is useful for community groups monitoring police activity.

The group said it has received more than 5,000 videos, 200 of which documented police incidents, since the app was launched on the Android platform in June.

The app is available at nyclu.org/app.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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