ACLU App Uploads, Preserves Videos of Cops

ACLU App Uploads, Preserves Videos of Cops

An ACLU App for your smartphone promises to change the very nature of police-citizen interaction. Reported today by the L.A. Times, the ACLU of California has released the app this morning. Called Mobile Justice CA, the ACLU app allows a citizen to send recordings directly to the ACLU, ensuring that video of potential police misconduct is preserved, even if their cellphone is tampered with or destroyed. This follows on the heels Monday of the Missouri Chapter launching its version of the ACLU App. Cell phone video has become the center of a national debate following the shooting of Walter Scott in South Carolina by a police officer now charged with murder. A citizen bystander recorded the shooting on his cell phone camera and came forward with it after the officer lied about the encounter. Most commentators believe that without the video, the officer’s fabricated account would have been believed and he would have gotten away with murder. Peter Bibring, Senior Staff Attorney for the ACLU Southern California Chapter, said work began on the app before the recent controversy. “As we’ve seen in headlines over the previous few months, recordings by members of the public is a crucial check on police abuse,” Bibring said. “We’ve seen a number of examples of high-profile incidents of abuse and unlawful shootings or killings that never would have come to light if someone wouldn’t have pulled out their phone and taken video.” The free app can be downloaded to any Android or iPhone, and automatically uploads the video to the ACLU servers. It also flags the phone’s location so that others with the app can locate the scene...

CHP Officer accused of stealing nude photos during suspect’s booking

By  Laura Anthony Thursday, October 23, 2014 08:24PM MARTINEZ, Calif. (KGO) — Bay Area CHP Officer Sean Harrington is accused of stealing nude cell phone pictures from a DUI suspect’s phone while she was being booked into the County Jail in Martinez. There is now evidence that other officers may also have been involved, and that possible criminal charges may be filed. “She’s tremendously distraught,” said Rick Madsen, the attorney for the young woman pulled over by Officer Harrington. He claims his client has been traumatized by this invasion of her privacy. “We don’t know at this point, although we’re gratified by the extent of the investigation by the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office, the extent to which they’ve been transmitted, either to other individuals perhaps other law enforcement officers” said Madsen. Madsen says the incident happened in August. The 23-year-old woman was pulled over by the Dublin-based Harrington on Interstate 680, near the Crow Canyon Road exit. She was taken into custody for a suspected DUI and then transported to the main jail in Martinez. It’s there that Madsen alleges Officer Harrington transmitted nude photos of the woman from her phone to his. “He asked for her password in order for her to get a phone number for her to call somebody. During that time he went through her private photos and transmitted as many as six to his own private cell phone,” claims Madsen. The Contra Costa District Attorney’s office is deciding whether to press criminal charges against Harrington. In the meantime, the 35-year-old Harrington has reportedly been taken off the street and put on desk duty...

California: Court Slams Cops Over Bogus Camera Stop

Female motorist can sue police who held her at gunpoint after automated license plate reader mistakes her Lexus sedan for a stolen pickup. An innocent woman forced to her knees, held at gunpoint, handcuffed and surrounded by multiple San Francisco, California police officers can proceed with her lawsuit for false arrest. The Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals on Monday ruled that the officers were potentially liable for using excessive force against Denise Green after an automated license plate reader (ALPR or ANPR in Europe) mistakenly flagged her vehicle as stolen. On March 30, 2009, a camera mounted on a police car on Mission Street took a blurry photo of Green’s burgundy Lexus ES300 which the automated system confused for a stolen gray GMC pickup truck. After being alerted to the “hit” over the radio, San Francisco Police Sergeant Ja Han Kim saw Green’s car pass by. He neither confirmed the license plate number on the car nor the make and model of the stolen vehicle. Instead, he called for backup and initiated a high-risk felony stop. Green, a 47-year-old black woman, was held for twenty minutes before one of the six officers got around to checking her license plate. Green sued for false arrest, but a federal district granted the officers immunity. The appellate judges disagreed, finding evidence of negligence. San Francisco Police Department policy recognizes ALPR readings are often faulty. Officers are supposed to verify the vehicle and the license plate before performing any stop. Sergeant Kim thought the camera squad car would have performed the verification, and the camera car driver, Officer Alberto Esparza, thought the...

Forced catheterization alleged; suit says cops wanted quicker urine sample after traffic stop

Posted May 13, 2014 6:56 AM CDT By Debra Cassens Weiss An Indiana man has filed a federal lawsuit alleging police and hospital officials subjected him to a forced catheterization because he didn’t provide a urine sample quickly enough after a traffic stop. William Clark of Crown Point says in the suit that a Schererville police officer held him down while hospital personnel at Franciscan St. Margaret Mercy Health inserted a catheter, NWI.com reports. Clark says the officer pulled over his car last May on the belief that Clark was driving erratically. The officer falsely claimed that Clark’s breath test result was .11, and the town never provided proof of the test result during discovery, the suit alleges. When Clark submitted to a blood test at the hospital, the blood alcohol was within the legal limit, according to the suit. The suit seeks $11 million plus punitive...

Milpitas police to target impaired drivers with DUI checkpoint

Milpitas Police Department’s traffic unit will conduct a driving under the influence/driver’s license checkpoint from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. Saturday, May 24 on Great Mall Parkway. The deterrent effect of DUI checkpoints is a proven resource in reducing the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol or drug involved crashes, according to police. Research shows that crashes involving an impaired driver can be reduced by up to 20 percent when well-publicized DUI checkpoints and proactive patrols are conducted routinely, according to law enforcement. In California, this deadly crime led to 802 deaths because someone failed to designate a sober driver. Nationally, the latest data shows nearly 10,000 were killed by an impaired driving. “Over the course of the past three years, we have investigated 127 DUI collisions with 28 injuries, which included one fatal collision,” Milpitas police Sgt. Raj Maharaj said. Officers will be looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment with officers checking drivers for proper licensing delaying motorists only momentarily. When possible, specially trained officers will be available to evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving. Recent statistics reveal that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems. A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent). Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, checkpoints have provided the most effective documented results of any of the DUI enforcement strategies, while also yielding considerable cost savings of $6 for every...

Despite law, vehicles often not impounded in repeat DUI cases

Law allows officers to impound vehicles of some repeat offenders SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) —The financial burden that comes with getting a vehicle out of impound is one of the ways the state of California hopes to deter drunken driving. California law states that the car of anyone driving under the influence in the past 10 years who is pulled over on suspicion of DUI can be impounded. Watch report: Vehicles often not impounded in repeat DUI cases But a KCRA 3 investigation found the law isn’t used often. KCRA 3 obtained the number of vehicles impounded for repeat DUI offenders from several Northern California police departments. Many departments have not impounded a single car in the last four years, including Stockton, Roseville and Folsom. Modesto has impounded fewer than five. The city of Sacramento, however, has impounded 106. KCRA 3 also asked departments to provide data on how many repeat DUI offenders qualified for impound because they were arrested during the 10-year time period. The Roseville Police Department, which was they only agency to provide data, said officers had arrested 20 such drivers in the last four years. None of those drivers had their cars impounded. Other agencies, including Sacramento, Stockton and Modesto police departments, said they did not have the records available. The Stockton Police Department, meanwhile, told KCRA 3, “Officers do not typically know about prior DUI arrests or other criminal histories when making decisions about whether to impound a vehicle.” The majority of other departments said they either didn’t have any data, or couldn’t collect the data. One of the biggest departments in Northern California, San...