ACLU AZ's New Anti-Racial Profiling App: Don't Suspect a Cop, Report Him (Um, or Her)

Have you just been racially profiled by one of Sheriff Joe Arpaio's boys (or girls) in beige?

Did a Phoenix cop ask to see your driver's license -- while you were in the back seat of someone else's car?!

See Also: Joe Arpaio B-Day Bomb: Judge Wants Monitor in Melendres Joe Arpaio and the MCSO Need a Court-Appointed Babysitter in the Melendres Racial-Profiling Case Joe Arpaio's Doomsday: Arpaio Loses ACLU Civil Rights Lawsuit, MCSO Enjoined from Racially Profiling Latinos

Has an Arizona Department of Public Safety officer pulled you over and asked if you have a Social Security Number?

Are you Latino, look Latino (even vaguely) or know people who fit either category?

Then don't delay, snag the gadget every resident of Ari-bama needs like a tube of SPF 40 sunscreen and a pair of flip-flops: the ACLU of Arizona's Stop Senate Bill 1070 Mobile App.

Why should racist law enforcement officers have all the technology, right?

This free, high-tech doohickey, available from acluaz.org/UnitedAgainst1070 or from your phone's app store, allows you to report a racial profiling incident immediately after it happens, while still in the air-conditioned comfort of your vehicle, assuming the Five-O doesn't have you in cuffs already.

See, when the United States Supreme Court ruled on SB 1070 last year, it allowed to stand one of the bill's most controversial provisions: section 2B, which obligates Officer Friendly to inquire about your immigration status after a stop, if the cop has reasonable suspicion to believe you're in the country without authorization.

How do they develop that reasonable suspicion? Well, as we've seen in the ACLU's racial profiling lawsuit Melendres v. Arpaio, brown skin tends to be a giant red flag for the bulls.

Of course, that's illegal, but the Supreme Court decided that, hypothetically, it was possible for 2B to be enforced constitutionally. So it gave the section, which at that point had not gone into effect, a pass.

It also left the door open to what's called an "as applied" challenge to 2B, meaning that the ACLU and its legal partners could, as they did in Melendres with great success, collect the data and testimony necessary to prove that 2B can only be enforced constitutionally in the alternate reality of a Supreme Court Justice's brain.

That's where the ACLU's app comes in. The device allows the user to submit a report to the ACLU, contact the ACLU-AZ's toll free hotline on biased policing, and read up on what your rights are if a law enforcement officer stops, detains or arrests you.

Naturally, the app can be used in either English or Spanish, and the ACLU is utilizing it to develop a map of biased policing incidents that folks can access online.

In a press release announcing a ground campaign to accompany the app and document SB 1070 abuses, Alessandra Soler, executive director of the ACLU of Arizona, noted that Arpaio's brand of racial profiling served as the "model" for 1070.

This pattern and practice of prejudiced policing, exposed during a bench trial before federal Judge G. Murray Snow last summer, led to the judge's recent, watershed 142-page ruling, where he found that the MCSO was racially profiling Latinos, and ordered the MCSO to stop.

"It is frankly impossible to enforce SB 1070 without using race or engaging in prolonged detentions," said Soler. "The decision in the Arpaio litigation sends a strong message to police departments across the state that they cannot hide behind SB 1070 and use it as an excuse to violate people's constitutional rights."

The release also relates how the ACLU set up its community hotline in the days following the Supreme Court's 1070 decision, allowing people to inform the ACLU of racial profiling by cops.

"Since then," it states, "the organization has fielded over 6,000 calls, including calls from individuals with `lawful status' such as deferred action recipients, crime victims and domestic violence survivors, who were detained for prolonged periods of time."

Genius idea, as is the app, which one day may help the ACLU sandblast SB 1070's section 2B into non-existence.

I've got mine, now you get yours, and let's go report on some racist cops.

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