Are you planning on attending President-Elect Trump’s inauguration in Washington, D.C. next week? According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), if you’re an inauguration attendee, you’re going to want to be prepared for any police interaction.
The ACLU partnered with Black Lives Matter DC (BLM), Black Youth Project 100 DC (BYP100), DC-National Lawyers Guild (DC-NLG), Stop Police Terror Project DC and Law4BlackLives-DC to create a pamphlet to inform inauguration goers of what to expect should they protest, be arrested or run into any local and federal law enforcement officers.
The pamphlet lists law enforcement badges, how to prepare in case you should get arrested and even advice for illegal immigrants who are looking at protesting.
“Usually police in D.C. do a pretty good job and understand their role at facilitating [and] not disrupting demonstrations,” Scott Michelman, senior staff attorney for ACLU of the District of Columbia, told FOX DC. “Just in case, we have information about dealing with police, understanding what to say, and most importantly what not to say and what to do if things go wrong.”
Based on the information provided on the pamphlet and the groups involved in the partnership, it’s obvious the ACLU is preparing for BLM protestors at Trump’s inauguration. The best part? If a protestor believes he or she is facing unwarranted police scrutiny, they can record the police interaction and submit it to the ACLU of DC via the “Mobile Justice DC” app.
The app, available in both the Google Android and Apple iOS stores, allows users to record law enforcement, to alert other Mobile Justice DC app users to nearby law enforcement encounters, and to submit videos and incident reports automatically to the American Civil Liberties Union of the District of Columbia (ACLU-DC). Individuals who believe that they have witnessed a civil rights violation can complete an incident report and send it to the ACLU-DC for review, along with their contact information, for follow-up.
To help protestors, ACLU-DC created a “how to” guide on YouTube.
The ACLU says this app is important because it helps address police abuse.
From Rodney King to Eric Garner, to Jason Goolsby, bystander videos have helped draw document police abuse and have led to change. Video can provide strong evidence of police abuse, especially compared to encounters where it is the word of officers against the word of criminal suspects. Even where officers aren’t criminally charged, videos of egregious cases of policing abuse have led to national conversation on issues around use of force and the role of race in policing, and have led to changes in police departments like the adoption of civilian oversight. Mobile Justice DC will make sure that bystander video is preserved even if police attempt to seize the phone or delete the files, and will help ensure video evidence of police abuse gets to the ACLU and civil rights community organizations that can use it to make change.
In other words, the ACLU is very skeptical of our men and women in blue. Although the ACLU is preparing protestors for the worst, let’s hope for everyone’s sake, that both protestors and DC law enforcement can be peaceful through the duration of the inaugural festivities.