MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Daunte Wright’s deadly encounter with police started with a traffic stop that escalated.
A group from Minnesota wants to change that with a new cellphone app.READ MORE: Churchill Borough Residents Voice Slew Of Concerns Over Potential Amazon Distribution Center
When Jazz Hampton and his now business partners watched routine traffic stops turn deadly time after time in Minnesota, they couldn’t stand by.
“I’ve been a part of the marches, I’ve been there, I’ve been at the vigils. I’ve been to all these things, the awareness is there and we all came together and said, ‘But what can we do?’” said Hampton, TurnSignl CEO.
So Hampton, a lawyer, teamed up with his friends, Mychal Frelix and Andre Creighton, to ditch their corporate jobs and develop an app, TurnSignl, that connects drivers with local lawyers when they get pulled over.
“When we put the attorney in the car, what we’re hoping to do is it would almost be like if I was sitting in your passenger seat when you were pulled over,” said Hampton.
So if a driver is getting pulled over they can either open the app or use voice command technology to say “Hey Siri, I’m getting pulled over,” and the app will open and start recording while it connects you with a lawyer face to face through the screen.
The lawyers on the app are there to keep an eye on your civil rights and they’re also trained in de-escalation.READ MORE: Carnegie Mellon Researchers Create Shapeshifting Pasta
“So let’s say they’re saying, ‘Hey, I need you to step out of the car.’ The lawyer can say, ‘Hey listen, they saw x, y or z on your dashboard. That is sufficient probable cause. You should follow their commands and get out of the car,'” said Hampton. “Or if not, they can be able to say, ‘Listen, this is a violation of your rights … but let’s just keep everyone safe in this moment.’”
Hampton says TurnSignl is not a cop reporting system.
He refers to it as an app to bridge the gap that already has some stamps of approval from local police chiefs.
“When a police officer approaches a car from TurnSignl, I want them to feel more comfortable than they do in any other stop that they approach,” said Hampton.
The hope is eventually this TurnSignl bumper sticker will put officers at ease and get everyone home safely.
“I can’t personally go out there and make legislative change, but what I can do is help the situation as we’re in it now,” said Hampton.
The app launches next week in Minnesota. It will eventually be rolled out in Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. before expanding to other markets.MORE NEWS: Olive Veronesi, Armstrong County Woman Who Went Viral For 'I Need More Beer!!' Pandemic Photo, Dies
It costs $10 per month with options for those who can’t afford it.