A startling new new app is being launched in the UK to help members of the public capture incriminating footage of police especially when it comes to exposing cases of race-related brutality.
The British civil rights campaigners got the idea from their recent visit to California, where they met members of the Black Lives Matter movement, which campaigns against race-related police brutality.
The US version of the app, which is created by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), is “designed to help people hold the police to account”.
As user will be able people to film the police and send the footage to ACLU where it can be assessed by lawyers.
Since it was launched six months ago, the app has been downloaded by over 170,000 people in California alone.
The British App will be called YStop and is being promoted by UK activists. One member, Shaun Hall, is the brother of Mark Duggan who was shot dead by police in 2011, sparking the London riots.
Hall shared his thoughts with the media, “I’ve heard instances where the police have been filmed; they actually go and take the phone and maybe even damage the phone or delete what’s been filmed. The brilliance of this is that as soon as you press send it is gone.”
Ade Johnson, whose brother-in-law Sheku Bayoh died after being restrained by police in Fife in May, said: “Sometimes witnesses are scared to come forward and show the footage that they’ve got.
“They don’t want to go to court and so on. If there is an app that they can use to just forward what they’ve seen or what they’ve recorded, we welcome that.”
Often causing controversy and public reaction, mobile phone footage of police in the US – notably the relentless beating of Rodney King which occurred in 1991 – led to riots after the officers involved were acquitted of wrongdoing.
More recently video filmed in April showed the arrest of Freddie Gray in Baltimore as he was dragged into a police van.
He later died of a broken neck and six police officers have been charged in connection with his death.
ACLU now plan to launch the US app in Baltimore as their next active location.
Meredith Curtis, from the Maryland branch of ACLU, explained, “We have had cases in the past where police have seized people’s phones and wiped the recordings. This stops that from happening.
“The ACLU stores the videos and our app also prompts you to complete a witness report that can be viewed by our lawyers.
“We have hundreds of activists and concerned citizens wanting to get hold of the app, so they can use it to hold the police accountable.”
Lead News from Sky News journalists that the Black Lives Matter movement has grown since the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson last year.
However, the police have warned that “the Ferguson effect” has since led to increased aggression towards officers.
Figures from the FBI show 48,000 police officers were attacked last year in the USA, and 51 were killed by offenders.
FBI director James Comey has argued that crime has risen as a result of police becoming more timid.
“Arresting people is not pretty and if something causes them to hesitate at a point when they ought to be moving instinctively, consistent with their training, then that could have disastrous effects,” shared James Pasco, executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police.