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A look at the Black-owned app developed in the U.S. to check police misconduct

August 27, 2019 at 09:03 am | Tech & Innovation

Mildred Europa Taylor

Mildred Europa Taylor | Associate Editor

August 27, 2019 at 09:03 am | Tech & Innovation

A black man in the U.S. has an estimated 1 in 1,000 chance of being killed by police during his lifetime, a report says. Pic credit: USA Today

Black Americans are more than twice as likely to be unarmed when killed during encounters with police as white people, a recent data analysis by the Guardian shows.

The analysis found that 32% of black people killed by police in 2015 were unarmed, as were 25% of Hispanic and Latino people, compared with 15% of white people killed.

Out of these findings and many similar ones, Maria Watkins, an African American entrepreneur, founded the RightThere Corporation (RTC) in 2017 to reverse the trend.

The organization, which was incorporated in 2018, is, at the moment, using technology to accomplish its mission of preventing police misconduct and reducing civil rights violations while making justice work for all. 

As part of this, the corporation has developed a smart subscription-based app that assists in “preventing police misconduct, reducing civil rights violations and others.”

Known as the RTC Protech, the app is currently awaiting full patent approval and would soon be available on Apple and Android devices, as well as, a wearable device, according to the RTC.

“We believe that all citizens should be protected equally by trained and skilled Police Officers. However, RTC is strongly against police misconduct, lack of transparency between the community and the Police Departments, and the lack of de-escalation training, which is not mandated in every state. All citizens should be treated equally with respect, given the benefit of the doubt and not presumed guilty because of the color of their skin,” RTC said on its website.

The corporation has, so far, highlighted some of the app’s functions and services, and these include:

Voice/touch activation
GPS Tracking
Audio and video surveillance
Alerts to emergency contacts
Assist in filing complaints to appropriate agencies
Access to Legal Referral Network

Here’s how it works:

Activation

When stopped by police – Activate by voice or touch

Data collection

The App will go into proprietary customized mode. RTC will begin recording audio and video and collect GPS position.

Alert

RTC Protech App will send alerts to preassigned contacts.

Touted as the most advanced nation in the globe, the integrity of the United States has been stained with the indiscriminate killings of African-Americans.

This and many unpunished crimes birthed the Black Lives Matter movement. This movement, which originated in the African-American community, garnered huge social media support after the acquittal of George Zimmerman who was accused of shooting and killing Trayvon Martin.

The Black Lives Matter movement was determined to confront deep-seated racial tensions, disparities, and shootings that continues to exist in 21st century America.

According to a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a black man in the U.S. has an estimated 1 in 1,000 chance of being killed by police during his lifetime. That’s 2.5 times the odds for a non-Hispanic white man, the authors found.

Black women are 1.4 times more likely than white women to be killed by police. Men overall are 20 times more likely than women to be killed by police, according to the paper.

Recently, the dismissal of Daniel Pantaleo, the NYPD police officer accused of choking Eric Garner, was met with mixed reactions from Americans and family of the victim. Unarmed Eric Garner, an African-American man, was the victim of police brutality after he was innocently choked to death in 2014.

The unfortunate incident added to the stockpile of killings of innocent African-Americans by the police in the U.S.

In June 2017, 32-year-old Philando Castile was killed by a police officer, Jeronimo Yanez, at St Anthony, Minnesota. Castile was pulled over while driving with his girlfriend. He was shot 7 times by the police after he was thought to be pulling out a firearm.  

Earlier in August 2016, Jamarion Robinson was killed by police in East Point, Georgia. He was shot 76 times after refusing to open the door of his girlfriend’s home when officers knocked. The police reportedly kicked in the door and began firing.

Two years prior, another African-American, Gregory Hill Jr., was shot to death in his own garage in Fort Pierce, Florida, on Jan. 14, 2014. According to reports, local residents called police with a noise complaint because of the loud music being played in the garage.

When Hill opened the garage and saw the police, he tried to close it but the police shot him in the head and elsewhere. His family has since maintained he was unarmed when he was shot.

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