29-year-old Duncan Kirkwood of Montgomery Alabama recently created an extremely useful police accountability phone application called "Hands Up". The app allows users to record police encounters and automatically update the footage to online storage that cannot be accessed or deleted by the officers. Kirkwood said that he was inspired to create the app after he was recently pulled over by police for no reason.
“You know, I’m a black man who grew up in the inner city. I know that when the police pull you over it’s probably gonna be a bad day. I realized that I should not have to be afraid of the police. If I break a traffic law, I should get a ticket and that’s it. I shouldn’t have to be worried about getting dragged out of the vehicle, being shot, getting tased, and just having the officer’s word against mine,” Kirkwood said in a recent interview with Fusion.
When Kirkwood started thinking about how he could be a part of the solution, he realized that there was a need to protect the footage that was taken of police encounters. Kirkwood said that he realized this “because I saw videos online of police taking people’s phones, and I even saw a video of police smashing someone’s phone.”
With the help of his brother and sister, Kirkwood was able to create the new app that is already on the Android market and will be available for Itunes in just a few months. Just search for "Hands Up The App."
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“God forbid if something bad happens to someone, it won’t be another Mike Brown situation because there will be video evidence to show exactly what happened. Think of it like having insurance: it’s better to have and not need it than to need it and not have it,” Kirkwood said of his product.
He added, “We think that this will be a game changer. It is giving the power back to individuals, and allowing for accountability in all kinds of different situations. If next week, the same officer does something else, and that is also caught on tape, then you will be able to see a pattern, and the departments are gonna start telling their people to stop abusing their authority. When people start to learn or assume, they are being videotaped, most times they will change their behavior and do what’s right.”
The use of the application is detailed below:
1. - Once pulled over by a police officer, turn on the app, click front facing camera and begin recording. The best position for this is to place the phone on the dashboard between the windshield and middle of the dashboard with a slight tilt towards the driver's side window. By using the forward facing camera, you can see that the camera is positioned correctly right before the screen goes black.
2. - Once you begin video recording, you have 10 seconds before the app will go black, but the app is STILL recording. This feature is to protect you from police that might take or destroy your phone.
3. - If you are pulled over at night, turn on your overhead light so that encounter with law enforcement can be seen.
4. - This app uses the GPS feature on your phone and will geotag each video.
5. - Please create a YouTube page and login on your phone. This feature will automatically save videos every 2 minutes of recording. It will save to your app, your device, your Dropbox and can be uploaded to YouTube.
6. - Please download the Dropbox app and set your device to automatically save pictures and videos to your Dropbox account and share the account information with your emergency contact so they will have access to the video.
7. - Please enter an emergency contact information. Every time a video is uploaded, it will send a text message to your contact notifying them a video has been uploaded to Dropbox.
8. - This app will work to publicize all peaceful protests and demonstrations across the nation. Please feel free to email us at [email protected] with upcoming protests and demonstrations.
You can find information at https://www.handsuptheapp.com/
John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he is also the owner of a successful music promotion company. In 2013, he became one of the organizers of the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.