Apps connect drivers to lawyers, stop live streaming
Being arrested by the police can result in a warning, ticket, night in jail or the tragedy. But several apps aim to hold drivers who see flashing lights in their rearview mirror accountable by informing them of their rights, recording the encounter — and even offering real-time legal advice.
A review published this year of national police data collected by the nonprofit Mapping Police Violence found In the United States, police have killed nearly 600 people in traffic stops since 2017.
But having easy access to your rights or legal assistance can provide a sense of protection. during any traffic stop. The possibility of recording allows the driver to have proof of the stop from their perspective – app makers say it’s protection against an inaccurate police account or evidence for a court date. Sometimes these videos go viral.
This is what happened after Delane Gordon posted video of a traffic stop earlier this year that ended with a stun bullet. The officer charged him with speeding, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. They were everything fell after the the footage was released and went viral on social networks.
California attorney Mike Mandell said such apps can be powerful tools, but users should be careful when using them. And the apps are no substitute for knowing your rights beforehand, he said.
Here are several apps that aim to help drivers during a traffic stop – and tips on how to use them when you’re stopped.
TurnSignl offers to connect users to an attorney who has been trained in de-escalation via live video chat. The encounter with the police is also recorded and a copy of the video is saved to the user’s personal cloud.
The app launched in May 2021 is currently available in Minnesota, Georgia, Florida, California, Illinois, and Tennessee.
Jazz Hampton, CEO and co-founder of TurnSignl, said the idea to create the app came after the murder of George Floyd and recent reports examining racial disparities in traffic stops. Studies show Black people are 20% more likely to be arrested by the police than white drivers and, according to the justice departmentthey are twice as likely to experience threats or use force from the police as whites.
Hampton said TurnSignl aims to balance power dynamics during a traffic stop but the main goal is to keep everyone safe.
The lawyer acts as a third-party mediator to ensure transparency, fairness and respect for both parties in order to prevent a situation – no matter how serious – from becoming life-threatening.
“If that means rights are being violated during the interaction but you’re following commands because you want to be safe in your home, you now have your own record of the interaction,” Hampton said.
what he promises: 24-hour access to legal help and advice to remind users of their rights and tell them what to do.
Keep in mind: The app has only launched in select US states, but plans to be available nationwide next year. A TurnSignl subscription is available monthly for $6.99/month or annually for $60/year, but the services are free for the unemployed and those earning less than $40,000 per year.
Created in 2015, the app allows users to add up to five emergency contacts who are notified when the user is stopped. They receive an exact location and a live feed of the encounter.
Before the end of the year, the app’s creator, Mbye Njie, said he planned to add the ability to contact a criminal or immigration lawyer in real time.
“The app’s hopes are to be able to make all traffic stops 100% seamless,” Njie said. “The goal is that in the future all police officers know if they arrest someone, there will be witnesses and a recording of this encounter.”
Users can also open the app to find a Bill of Rights, relevant laws in all 50 states, and a list detailing what to do if approached by a police or immigration officer.
what he promises: Immediate notification and archived live streaming to trusted contacts, who can then act as witnesses to the interaction, all for free.
Keep in mind: Real-time legal advice is not yet available and Mandell warns against reading up on your rights during a traffic stop.
The American Civil Liberties Union, a national civil rights organization, first released Mobile Justice in 2015. The app allows users to live stream interactions with law enforcement to close their contacts and their local ACLU chapter. The app also serves as a platform to submit police misconduct reports for review.
Users also have access to information detailing their rights to take photos and videos under their national laws.
what he promises: Footage recorded on the app is automatically uploaded to the ACLU’s server to ensure that videos are saved even if a phone is seized or destroyed. Mobile Justice is available for free.
keep in mind: Although the meeting can be broadcast live to the ACLU and trusted contacts, no real-time legal advice is available.
How to Launch Traffic Stopping Apps Using Siri on iPhones
Traffic stops are stressful for everyone, and the last thing you want to do is fiddle with your phone, which can make a tense interaction worse. Do not worry. There is an easy shortcut to help you.
For iPhone users, a shortcut can be set up in five steps:
- Launch the Shortcuts app and tap on “My Shortcuts”
- Tap the ‘+’ icon in the top right corner
- Name your shortcut (try something easy to remember, like “I’m stopped” or “open TurnSignl”)
- Tap “Open app” under “select next action”
- Select app
To use the shortcut, just say “Hey Siri” and the name of the shortcut: “Hey Siri, I’m being arrested”.
Some Android users can also use voice commands in a similar way.
For iPhone users who choose not to download an app, a third-party shortcut named “I get arrestedis available to anyone with the iOS 12 update (or any later version). It can be used to record a traffic stop, alert emergency contacts of your location, and silence your phone.
Contribute: The Associated Press