With the deadly cases of Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and now Sam Dubose dominating national headlines, the perils of police racial profiling against persons of color are as visible as ever, at least for those paying attention. Now, a new mobile app currently under development hopes to eradicate the kind of ambiguity that often allows profiling to continue. It’s called Legal Equalizer, and may prove to be an essential new tool for justice.
The app is the passion project of 34 year-old Mbye Njie, who began work on it earlier this spring. Njie has designed the app to begin recording a person’s interaction with police as soon as it is opened, and sees traffic stops like Bland’s as the kind of situation in which additional evidence may make all the difference in stopping law enforcement officers from abusing their power and contorting the law. “It’s funny how everybody always wants to believe the officer,” Njie said, speaking with The Huffington Post in an interview. “I thought about every time you go to traffic court, you go to court, the word of the officer’s testimony is almost seen as solid gold and there’s no way the police could ever tell a lie. That’s weird. Nobody has anything to counter that.”
An integral part of Legal Equalizer’s design is an emergency button that sends both video and a GPS location to three preselected contacts once the app is closed, providing what could be a crucial counterpoint to police bodycam footage, dashcam video or the limited verbal testimony of an officer. Njie told The Huffington Post that the app is a “necessity” for anyone dealing with a police officer, and noted the he himself has repeatedly been the victim of apparent racial profiling.
Recent data indicates that black drivers are three times more likely to be searched during a police traffic stop than whites, and that more blacks in general are stopped by police in the first place.
Plans are in the works for Legal Equalizer to be finished in late September, when it will go on sale for iPhone and Android users. Currently, Njie and his team are running an IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign, with which they hope to raise $25,000 to finance the remainder of the project. Watch a video for that campaign below and consider donating. “We want the power to be put back in the hands of the people, Njie said, “so they know the laws at all times and just know they have that peace of mind to know your loved one or friend knows where am I when I get pulled over.”
This video is about Legal Equalizer Update