A new smartphone application is being designed for one purpose — to protect people from police brutality… At least that’s what the creators are saying, claiming that body cam footage can and is manipulated to fit an officer’s narrative.

It’s called Protech, and soon it could be on millions of smartphones nationwide.

The application provides GPS location of where the user is, documents the police encounter with video and audio monitoring, and can be used to quickly notify emergency contacts, Black Enterprise reported.

The article laid out a scenario of a when users would want to use the app.

“So, let’s say you find that you’re being wrongfully detained or you feel unsafe when approached by an officer. The app can be activated through touch or a voice prompt if your hands are a bit tied up at the moment. The RTP Protech will start recording audio and visual data and lock down your location through GPS just in case help needs to be sent your way. The app contacts and sends the information to the emergency contacts you listed.”

Let’s stop for a moment. If you believe you’ve been wrongly detained, the best course of action is to comply with the officer’s orders and get it sorted out after. Putting up a fight and ignoring lawful commands is a great way to escalate the situation and increase the risk of an altercation.

(Flickr)

 

Okay, let’s press on.

According to their report, body worn cameras from the police are all well and good, but they say that police can and do alter them to fit their narrative.

“Body cams are, in an ideal sense, a great tool. But they can also be manipulated, especially by the individual who is the cause of your emergency,” the report claimed.

Within the last few years, the usage of body cams has exploded, with departments all across the nation outfitting officers with the technology. While there are always exceptions, most times the footage pulled from these POV interactions show that the officers act in the right manner. And because of how well they work, anti-police activists are having a hard time pushing their narrative that police are the bad guys and the suspects are the victims.

The numbers from the report could use some further investigation. According to their claims, which cites a study from the Guardian, police are on a rampage to kill unarmed subjects.

“In 2015, 102 people were killed by police. All of them were unarmed and 32% were black,” their article stated. 

First of all, that’s not the information that the Guardian published in their study. Secondly, the way it is phrased is incredibly misleading to readers. 

Check out the source to see the real numbers. 

The app was designed by a technology company known as the RightThereCorp., which specializes in fighting police misconduct. It’s known as Protech, and will be available in the App Store and Google Play store in the near future.

We see a few additional risks that come into play with the widespread availability and use of the app. Yes — we all want to get bad cops off of the streets, but what happens when an officer issues a command and then the suspect, wanting to utilize the app, starts digging around in their pockets?

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The danger posed to that person increases exponentially. While they are reaching for their cellphone, the officer in the situation has no clue what’s about to come out of their pocket. A gun? A knife? 

Two officers faced massive backlash after mistakenly shooting and killing Stephon Clark, who ran from police and reached for his cellphone. 

 

This is far from the first time we’ve heard claims that officers and departments manipulate body cam footage… but honestly other than a few exceptions when cameras were not activated, it’s pretty hard to dispute uncut footage.

In fact, a judge in Mississippi just sided with an officer’s actions after more than a dozen people claimed that he shot an unarmed black man who was running away.

But the footage doesn’t lie.

By now, our readers have heard a lot about Moss Point. As we have previously reported: An officer involved shooting. An on again, off again attorney. A $10 million civil suit. NAACP accusations of a cover-up. A city alderman who called the cop a murderer before any evidence had been turned over. All the makings of a Hollywood script. An “eyewitness” who emerged almost 2 months after the shooting, who just happens to be someone who was already trying to get the cop fired.

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27-year-old Toussaint Diamon Sims was shot and killed by police in early August. (Moss Point Police)

 

Now, a Jackson County grand jury has cleared Officer Lance Shipman of any criminal wrongdoing for the shooting death of Moss Point resident Toussaint Diamon Sims.

“I never had any doubt as I saw the video,” said Shipman’s attorney, Calvin Taylor, after confirming the grand jury ruling. “I have great confidence in grand juries.”

Taylor said early-on that Shipman’s actions were justified because Sims had a loaded firearm that was found near his body after the Aug. 8 shooting.

The grand jury report said they “engaged in a full and deliberate consideration of all the facts and circumstances surrounding” the shooting.

They also noted that Sims was wanted on three felony and three misdemeanor charges, was running from police and had a “firearm with an extended magazine in his hands.”

There were 25 witnesses listed, which included Moss Point Alderman Sherwood Bradford and others identified by the NAACP.

Brian Dunn, lead attorney at the Cochran Firm in Los Angeles and the chief attorney for the Sims’ family, said Sim’s family “is disappointed by the grand jury’s determination that the officer’s conduct did not rise to the level of criminal wrongdoing when he shot and killed him.”

“We will continue our pursuit of justice for the family which will include a civil lawsuit against the officer and Moss Point Police Department,” Dunn said. “Now that the grand jury process has concluded, we are hopeful that the body camera video at the center of this case will be released to the public. The community deserves to see for themselves the clear evidence in this case.”

The NAACP and the attorneys for the Sims’ family have vowed to question the authenticity of Shipman’s body camera footage, alleging Moss Point police broke the chain of custody when it allowed Taylor to review it before it was secured by the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation. MBI conducted the independent investigation.

In addition, the NAACP said they had interviewed at least 14 witnesses who said Sims was not armed when Shipman shot him.

Moss Point Police Chief Brandon Ashley called what happened “a tragic event.

“I have confidence that the investigation was thorough and complete on behalf of MBI,” Ashley said Tuesday, adding that “the District Attorney’s Office presented every witness available who came forward. I want to commend the community for having patience to allow this case to come to a resolution. It was a tragic event for all parties involved, but I knew from the beginning our officer acted in a justifiable manner in accordance with state law and Moss Point Police Department policy.”

After learning of Tuesday’s ruling, the NAACP responded as well.

“I want to wait and have a meeting with the district attorney before providing any type of response,” NAACP President Curley Clark said Tuesday. “There are two sides to every equation, and it appears that in this case a side that we have not been privy to had more weight. We will determine our course of action after we meet with the district attorney.”

Clark is correct. There are two sides to every equation. On one side, you have the variables. These are the parts and pieces that are added, subtracted, multiplied or divided to end with an expression. In this instance, the expression was “no criminal wrongdoing.” Is it possible that Clark is hoping that there are two correct answers to every equation?

As we previously covered, Bradford, the same alderman that publicly called the officer involved a murderer, had come forward to say that he just happened to be in the exact location at the exact time if the incident. The same alderman that has been publicly reprimanded for sexist and racist statements. The same alderman that recently had a restraining order placed against him by the city’s mayor. 

mississippi_moss_point_social_posts

 

He has made multiple public comments regarding the case, but neve once did he state that he was present or that he saw the events in question.

The NAACP is questioning the authenticity of the Moss Point Police Department’s body camera footage of the death of Sims. Supposedly, their “eyewitness” accounts don’t coincide with what is in the video footage.

One of the people the NAACP said witness the event claims to have cell phone footage of the cops planting a weapon on the suspect, but he has not shown the footage to anyone.

”We made it known to the district attorney that the Moss Point Police Department broke the chain of custody of the (police) video cam evidence when they allowed (attorney) Calvin Taylor to review it prior to a grand jury,” Curley Clark, president of the Jackson County chapter of the NAACP said Thursday. “Therefore, we feel like there is an appearance of a possible cover up because our witnesses did not see a gun in Diamon Sims’ hands at the time of the shooting nor did they see a gun near his body after he was shot.”

Taylor, Clark said, had been permitted to review body-camera footage before it was turned over to the Mississippi Bureau if Investigation, the agency in charge of the independent investigation.

Perhaps Mr. Clark does not grasp the difference between a criminal process and a civil one. The District Attorney has seen the video. With the possibility of facing a grand jury indictment, not only does it make sense that the officer’s attorney has access to the same evidence, it is a legal requirement. 

Taylor sat down with the Sun Herald after the fatal shooting to discuss what was in the police body-camera footage. Here is his account of what he viewed.

He said his client and another officer initially pulled out Tasers to try and take Sims into custody in a “non-lethal manner” because Sims did not have a gun in his hands when he first jumped out his car to run.

The officers dropped their Tasers and grabbed their guns, Taylor said, after they saw Sims reach down in a front waist band and pull out what appeared to be gun. The video, he said, clearly shows Sims turning back toward the officer and the officer felt like Sims was about to shoot.

Taylor said the officer fired several rounds at Sims until he jumped a fence and fell to the ground.

The body-camera footage, Taylor said, clearly shows Sims had a firearm capable of firing dozens of rounds. He said the loaded gun was found near Sims’ body.

Taylor called the idea of someone altering the video “nonsense.”

And now, the NAACP is hinging its case on an eyewitness who has lost his credibility after being the subject of a restraining order.  

Once again, we see the body cam video confirm that the officer acted appropriately. So what happens when this new app hits the streets? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

 

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