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New app to monitor NYPD stop and frisks

June 6, 2012 3:12:48 PM PDT
Critics of the NYPD's controversial stop and frisk policy have new tactic. It's an app.

They are asking citizens to use their smart phones videotape police officers, and then use the app in an effort to document all NYPD stops people.

With a simple touch of the phone screen, anyone witnessing an NYPD stop and frisk will now be able to record it and even alert others nearby when a stop is in progress:

"A lot of people are already recording stop and frisks as they happen with phones, so this will be another way to make that process easier," Jason Javier said.

But in addition to recording, this APP, which is available for free through the New York Civil Liberties Union also allows owners of the Android phone to document details of the stop such as location, officer's name, and the ethnicity of the person stopped:

"The APP is about empowering individuals and community groups to document buses and discrimination under NYPD stop and frisk program that is frankly out of control," Donna Lieberman of the NYCLU said.

Under Mayor Bloomberg, stop and frisk has accelerated from around 97-thousand stops when he first took office to nearly 700-thousand last year alone.

"I can't even count it (how many times I've been stopped and frisked in the last five years). There are times I've been stopped three different times in one day," Steve Kohut said.

Kohut says the Stop and Frisk APP is for use by those who witness a stop in progress, but not for a person who's been stopped.

"We know what happens when you reach into your pocket (during an encounter with a police officer). We remember Diallo," Kohut said.

Mayor Bloomberg insists Stop and Frisk is saving lives by taking guns off the streets. Critics say the city's dramatic drop in gun violence occurred before Bloomberg took office and before the 600-percenT increase in stops. The ACLU is hoping this new APP will change that.

"It leverages sophisticated technology and programming to create a simple to use social justice tool, I hope will effect policy change," app designer Jason van Anden said.

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