ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) - A police officer’s body camera sometimes captures the interactions of a routine traffic stop, but a St. Paul man has developed an app that will call others to the scene to capture it all from a different point of view.
The Safe Space app went live on iTunes this week. Mondo Davison, the app's creator, believes it’s a way to crowdsource safety for people of color.
When Davison was pulled over in St. Paul after a night out a couple of years ago, he wished there was someone near the Dale Street exit off I-94 to witness his encounter with police.
"In that moment the things that ran through my head are all the bad stuff you see on TV between police and black men,” said Davison. “I hope that doesn't happen to me."
Even though he was fine that night, the incident prompted Davison to create Safe Space. When someone who has the app gets pulled over, they can press a button that sends an alert to their emergency contacts, as well as people with the app within a half mile radius to come to the scene and record what is going on.
"The community is in a position where we're asking for help from somebody,” said Davison. “Hopefully this tool will be something--that we are our own solution."
The head of the Minneapolis police union, says with many officers already using body and dash cameras, calling a crowd with cell phone cameras to police activity is unnecessary.
"The last thing an officer needs when they are on the street dealing with a situation is a crowd of people gathering around them potentially causing more of a threat to them," said Lt. Bob Kroll.
But Davison, who went to high school with Philando Castile and was pulled over months after Jamar Clark was shot and killed by police, believes Safe Space could eventually save lives.
"This is just a tool we want to use for each other,” said Davison. “For the community, by the community. Just a way for us to police the police in a way that we control it."
Davison is hoping to raise enough money to add other features, develop a version for android and launch the app in other cities.