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Thousands download ACLU racial profiling app; spark investigations

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STOP 1070 smartphone app (Source: CBS 5 News) STOP 1070 smartphone app (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

The American Civil Liberties Union is investigating dozens of racial profiling claims after it launched its app a month ago.

The smartphone app allows people to report if they believe they were victims of profiling because of SB 1070, which is the state's immigration enforcement law.

It's called STOP 1070. On its first day, 1,600 people downloaded it. A month later, more than 3,200 people have it on their phone. A Valley social media expert says it's new mobile technology like this that's making it easier for people to get behind a cause.

"We have a real problem with racial profiling in this state, and this county," said ACLU Arizona Executive Director Alessandra Soler.

They're now investigating 50 cases, 23 of them coming from the app submissions. The rest are from their website and hotline.

"They range, a lot of them are interactions with police, most of those happening in the car. We get complaints about people, for example, passengers who are being questioned about their immigration status," she said.

Soler says the app also tells people what their rights are if they encounter an officer asking about immigration status in their car, when they're walking down the street, or even in their house.

Valley social media expert David Liebowitz says apps and social media make it easy for the masses to get behind a movement.

"They're the best going for cause marketing, because what you have is you have people who have opted in, they've decided they want to be a part of your team," he said.

Soler says the goal is to get a lot of cases recorded so they can argue that SB 1070 is unconstitutional in court and have it taken off the books.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting). All rights reserved.

 

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