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NAACP Emergency Resolution Encouraging Proficiency in the Lawful Use of Mobile Video to Record Possible Civil Rights Violations

WHEREAS, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in 1909 in response to the killings of African Americans at the hands of private citizens and public officials; and,

WHEREAS, thephotographs and television images of the injustices committed against African Americans in cities such as Birmingham and Atlanta, at the hands of the police, awakened the consciousness of the Nation in the 1960s; and,

WHEREAS, video evidence of the Rodney King beating and other acts of police brutality in the 1990s led to reforms in policing practices across the country; and,

WHEREAS, cell phone recordings of police shootings, such as the recent killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, have been critically important to public understanding of what actually occurred and in public demands for accountability for the police officers involved; and,

WHEREAS, new cell phone technology makes it easier to record and store mobile phone videos to a cloud where they are less likely to be altered or destroyed; and,

WHEREAS, the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, Special Litigation Section, issued a thorough advisory letter dated May 14, 2012 stating that non-intrusive, respectful videotaping of police officers in a public setting is protected by the First Amendment; and,

WHEREAS, video recording of possible misconduct may likewise prove instrumental in reducing civil rights violations in employment, voting, housing, and other areas; and,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP commends the bravery of Ramsay Orta, Chris LeDay, Diamond Reynolds, Feidin Santana and others who have recorded police shootings of unarmed civilians and other possible civil rights violations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that, as a deterrent to police misconduct, voter intimidation and other civil rights violations, the NAACP encourages its members and the public at large to become proficient in the use of a mobile device with video capability and applications that will back up and preserve video in the cloud; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP condemns the harassment of those who film police violation of civil rights, such as was done to Ramsey Orta; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP encourages its units, with the assistance of the National Office staff, to offer training on the lawful use of mobile devices and applications with the ability to back up and preserve video in the cloud so that citizens may determine – based on the circumstances presented – whether to record conduct by police officers, other public officials and/or private citizens that might violate civil rights protections.

Derrick Lewis - Youth & College Hero

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