Apps connect drivers to lawyers, livestream stop

Being stopped by police could lead to a warning, a ticket, a night in jail or a tragedy. But several apps aim to empower drivers who see flashing lights in their rearview mirror by informing them of their rights, recording the encounter — and even offering real-time legal advice.

A review released this year of national police data gathered by the nonprofit Mapping Police Violence found police in the US have killed nearly 600 people during traffic stops since 2017.

But having easy access to your rights or legal support can offer a sense of protection during any traffic stop. The option to record allows the driver to have proof of the stop from their perspective — app creators say that’s protection against an inaccurate police account or evidence for a court date. Sometimes those videos go viral.

That’s what happened after Delane Gordon posted video of a traffic stop earlier this year that ended with him being shot by a stun gun. The officer charged him with speeding, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. They were all dropped after the footage was released and went viral on social media.

California attorney Mike Mandell said such apps can be powerful tools, but people should be careful when using them. And the apps are no substitute for knowing your rights ahead of time, he said.

Here are several apps that aim to help drivers during a traffic stop — and tips on how to use them when you’re being pulled over.

TurnSignl offers to connect users to an attorney who has been trained in de-escalation through a live video chat. The encounter with police is also recorded and a copy of the video is saved to the user’s personal cloud.

The app launched in May 2021 is currently available in Minnesota, Georgia,

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