Why Mobile Justice MI?
Because communities should control their police departments, not the other way around. At a time when headlines and broadcasts abound with news about racial profiling, harassment and police brutality, the ACLU of Michigan believes it is critical that citizens be equipped with the best tools available for ensuring law-enforcement accountability.
To that end, we've created Mobile Justice MI, a mobile-device application that gives you the power to record and report police abuse with the push of a button. So download Mobile Justice MI now. And remember, you have the right to film the police.
How Does Mobile Justice MI Work?
Mobile Justice MI has three main functions: Record, Report and Witness.
To start recording, simply hold down the camera button on the outside of your phone, or open the app and hit the red "Record" button and the app will use your phone’s camera to record both audio and video. To stop recording, simply tap the screen. As soon as you stop recording, the video will be automatically sent to the ACLU.
After each recording you will be prompted to fill out a short survey. You can bypass the survey by simply pressing cancel. However, we encourage you to fill it out, so we can learn more about what you witnessed. Required fields in the survey are marked "Required." If you are unsure of the information asked in the survey, simply mark "Unsure." Finally, press the "Submit Incident Report" button to send your survey to the ACLU.
You can also test the record function by clicking on "Test." The video captured in test mode will not be submitted to the ACLU.
This feature allows you to know if people around you are getting stopped by law enforcement. When others in your area use Mobile Justice MI, you will get a message reporting where the encounter is happening. If the dot by this feature is green, it means the "Witness" feature is activated. If the dot is red, it means the "Witness" feature is not activated and you will not receive reports on where officer activity is happening. This feature is especially useful for community groups that monitor law enforcement activity.
This feature allows you to stay up-to-date with important local and statewide alerts and events hosted by your local ACLU affiliate. To enable or disable this function, go to the "My Settings" tab of this app.
To adjust your personal settings simply hit the "My Settings" tab at the bottom of the app home page.
Though optional, we encourage you to enter your personal information (name, phone number and email). All of your information will be kept confidential. However, there may be situations where the ACLU may be legally required to disclose this information, such as when the ACLU receives a subpoena for this information. In such situations we will protect your information to the fullest extent of the law, and only disclose it when legally required. If you chose not to enter this information, reports and footage you send will be sent to the ACLU anonymously.
Lock Screen on Recording (Available only on Android version; Recommended): Check this feature to have your screen automatically lock when you start recording – this step is recommended. This will secure your device if it is setup with a screen lock (using a pattern, password or pin).
Broadcast My Location: By checking this feature, you will alert others using the "Witness" function to where you are when you are using the app.
Use Camera Button (Available only on certain phones): By checking this feature, your device will automatically start recording anytime you click your phone’s camera button.
Rules of Engagement: How to Conduct Yourself When Filming a Police Encounter
When interacting with law enforcement, exercise caution when attempting to use the app to document your exchange. Your safety depends on your ability to clearly communicate your actions and to remain calm.
- Announce that you are reaching for your phone.
- Announce that you are attempting to access the app to record the exchange.
- If the officer forbids or prevents you from doing so, do not argue or resist. Follow the officer's instructions. If your rights have been violated, your attorney will argue your case later.
- If the officer attempts to touch your screen in an effort to destroy the evidence you've captured, don't worry. The moment the recording is stopped it will automatically be sent to the ACLU of Michigan.
To uninstall this app be sure to uncheck “Lock Screen on Recording” under the app’s “Settings” tab. You will then be able to uninstall by accessing your phone’s application settings.