As this country has seen numerous times, traffic stops can often lead to scary interactions between law enforcement and citizens -- especially for minorities.
A new app is working to change that.
Legal Equalizer is an app designed to help keep citizens safe during a traffic stop by by recording the stop and connecting users to help in real time.
Developer Mbye Njaie says the app -- which is free to download -- is “help at your fingertips.”
“If you got pulled over by police, or immigration is at your door ... with a touch of a button (the app) lets five loved ones know what kind of situation you’re in and your exact location," Njaie said. "The way the app works is when you log in, it’s going to ask you for access to your contacts -- please say yes. That way you can pick your five people who you can alert. It’s going to also ask you for your camera and microphone access to record the incidents.”
The app is also meant to serve as an informative tool to help prepare users for an emergency situation.
“We have within the app your rights, state laws and federal laws. “We also have (information on) what to do during police encounters and immigration encounters,” Njaie said. “We allow you to record (the encounters) and have witnesses in real time.”
Njaie says the idea for the app arose in 2014 after what happened in Ferguson. The developer says his personal encounters with law enforcement also inspired the app’s development.
“That December I myself got pulled over like three times in a week and half," Njaie said. "I really thought about this, and the (encounter) that hit home the hardest to me was in 2015 (with) Sandra Bland. What if she had her entire family watching that encounter in real time and was recording it? That’s all this is about: accountability on all ends.”
Legal Equalizer is available for download on your phone. Njaie says he has spoken with several police departments who have shown approval of the app, saying it’s a way to hold everyone accountable.