The New York Civil Liberties Union today unveiled the “Stop and Frisk Watch” app that allows New Yorkers to monitor police activity and report NYPD officers who conduct unlawful stop-and-frisk encounters and other police misconduct.
“Stop and Frisk Watch is about empowering individuals and community groups to confront abusive, discriminatory policing,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said in a statement. “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. At a time when the Bloomberg administration vigorously defends the status quo, our app will allow people to go beyond the data to document how each unjustified stop further corrodes trust between communities and law enforcement.”
In February the NYPD released stop-and-frisk statistics to the City Council that revealed the highest number of stops ever recorded in one year. Out of 684,330 stop-and-frisk stops, 87% percent of those stopped in 2011 were black or Latino, and nine out of ten persons stopped were not arrested, nor did they receive summonses.
An NYCLU analysis showed that black and Latino males between the ages of 14 and 24 accounted for 41.6 percent of stops in 2011, though they make up only 4.7 percent of the city’s population. The number of stops of young black men exceeded the city’s entire population of young black men.
The app includes a “Know Your Rights” section that instructs people about their rights when confronted by police and their right to film police activity in public. Stop and Frisk Watch is intended for use by people witnessing a police encounter, not by individuals who are the subject of a police stop.
The app allows bystanders to fully document stop-and-frisk encounters and alert community members when a street stop is in progress. NYCLU details the app’s three primary functions:
Record: This allows the user to film an incident with audio by simply pushing a trigger on the phone’s frame. Shaking the phone stops the filming. When filming stops, the user immediately receives a brief survey allowing them to provide details about the incident. The video and survey will go to the NYCLU, which will use the information to shed light on the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices and hold the Department accountable for its actions.
Listen: This function alerts the user when people in their vicinity are being stopped by the police. When other app users in the area trigger Stop and Frisk Watch, the user receives a message reporting where the police stop is happening. This feature is especially useful for community groups who monitor police activity.
Report: This prompts the survey, allowing users to report a police interaction they saw or experienced, even if they didn’t film it.
The Stop and Frisk Watch app is available in English and Spanish (Make the Road New York translated the app.)
Currently the app is only available on Android phones but an iPhone version is scheduled to be released this summer.
To download Stop and Frisk Watch, visit www.nyclu.org/app.