Nowadays, police body cameras can provide critical evidence if you’re facing charges. But recordings don’t do any good if they’re turned off, or you encounter an officer who isn’t required to have one. Fortunately, in the age of smartphones, you have options. The latest tool to protect your rights is an app that will record your conversation with the officer.
If you were arrested in or around Columbus, Ohio, and need help, contact the Columbus criminal lawyers at Luftman, Heck & Associates. We’ll review any recordings to see if your rights were violated. We’ll also discuss your other options and how we can help. To schedule a free consultation, call (614) 406-5968 24/7.
iPhone App Will Start Recording & Text Your Location
If you have an iPhone, there’s a Shortcuts app as part of an iOS 12 update that lets you create automated routines. You can say a phrase or hit a button, and your phone will perform multiple tasks. Business Insider reports that Arizona resident Robert Petersen created a shortcut, now known as “I’m Getting Pulled Over.” It can help users during traffic stops by automatically recording their interactions with police officers.
It activates the phone’s Do Not Disturb feature, so there will be no notifications, incoming calls, or text messages. This is to lessen the risk an officer will be startled by your phone and act aggressively. It will also send a text message with your location to the contacts you selected. The phone will also start recording a video using the camera above the screen. Which camera to use can be switched, and other default settings can be changed.
Another ACLU App Could Record Your Conversation & Send Video
Another option may be an app developed by the American Civil Liberties Union, though it’s not made explicitly for when you’re pulled over. Mobile Justice is available for Apple and Android smartphones, reports CNN.
First released in 2015 to record possible police misconduct, videos are uploaded to the organization’s server so they’ll be saved if your phone is seized or destroyed. It was launched after the deaths of unarmed Black teens Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. Increasingly those interacting with police and bystanders are making video recordings to document possible abuse.
A user goes to their state’s Mobile Justice app – one for Ohio isn’t yet available – and they can record a video that’s downloaded to their phone and sent to the state ACLU chapter for possible review. Before that starts, the user needs to report the details of the encounter.
You Could Take a DIY Approach Without Either App
While these apps make the process pretty straightforward, you don’t need an app to record your dealings with the officer. You just need the video to be recorded. If you’re driving and your phone is set up to see the screen easily, you should get a shot of you and the officer if you use the right camera. If the phone is pointed in another direction, you may only record the audio of what the two of you say to each other.
Mobile Justice livestreams video to their organization. If you use a social media app that allows for live streaming, you could do the same to make sure the video is saved outside your phone if the police seize it and delete the video. But the more movement you make in your vehicle setting up your phone or doing other things may raise the officer’s anxiety. He or she may fear you’re getting a weapon ready and act accordingly.
The Benefits of Recording Interactions With Officers
In addition to capturing possible misconduct, if the officer knows a video’s being made, it might deescalate the situation. Without being aggressive, you can inform the officer the two of you are being recorded. He or she may slow down and take a moment to think before saying things, taking actions, or making decisions to handle the situation appropriately.
It should also be a reminder to you to be on your best behavior. If you’re the one acting irresponsibly, driving while intoxicated, or trying to pick a fight with the officer, this will be on the video, too, so be careful when you hit the record button.
A video like this could be beneficial, depending on the facts of your case. It’s no longer your word against that of the officer. If the officer engages in misconduct, talks or acts unprofessionally, or falsely claims something that’s disproven by the video, it could be a reason to have the charges dismissed.
Suppose the officer has a dashboard-mounted camera, a bodycam, and you have one recording too. In that case, your defense team, the prosecution, the judge, and jury members should have strong evidence of who said and did what before you were pulled over and during your encounter with the officer. This could make the case far simpler with fewer facts to be proven.
Arrested in Columbus? Call LHA
At Luftman, Heck & Associates, we want you to be safe when interacting with the police. If it’s possible, a video of your conversation may be very helpful to your case. It should remove some of the guesswork over what happened and why.