Watching the Powers That Be

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary One of the most important uses of mobile phones these days is making sure that peoples’ constitutional rights are protected. Sometimes, the lawful authorities do not act within the letter of the law. One organization, Make the Road New York, has created a special network for mobile phone users to record any acts of police brutality. This allows such individual mobile phone users to begin recording any and all images of any incident where a person’s rights may be violated by the police or other law enforcement authorities. The screen goes black so that no law enforcement authorities can see who may be recording and try to destroy any recorded evidence. The recorded images then is sent to judicial authorities as evidence against those law authorities who commit any type of unlawful brutality. Normally, police brutality does not happen in rural or small suburban towns where the police know the people and where they live. However, this does not apply in larger suburban towns or cities where the rules of police knowing one’s neighbors is simply not there.

By and large, police in the United States are pretty decent people who are trying to do an honest job. Nobody wants to think of any of them as rotten apples. However, as in all other occupations, there are some rotten apples so it is necessary sometimes to watch the watchers. So the mobile phone, which has become indispensable for business, can now also be used to watch those in law enforcement who themselves break the law. One other thing that, sadly, has become a problem for people, and especially religious minorities, are those being singled out by law enforcement because they are a religious minority. This has become true for Muslims, Jews and Sikhs. Sometimes they are stopped by police for some incident, and because of fear or ignorance on the part of some individuals, innocent religious minority individuals may be harmed emotionally as well as physically. Another organization, the Sikh Coalition, has created its own network to help protect the rights of Sikhs. If Sikhs are stopped by police, and if individual Sikhs feel their rights have been violated, then they can file a report and have this sent to the local and state authorities. Likewise, when individual Sikhs feel their rights have been violated by airport authorities, they can file a report and send it to the Transit Security Authority.

It is sad to me that sometimes we have to watch those in authority. Overall, I do not wish to cause trouble, nor do anything that is illegal. However, when our rights are being violated, there are times when we must fight back to protect those constitutional rights. This piece of technology is one more instance that does this.

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