Facial recognition does not always help
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Photo of Attorneys T. Noel Brooks and Jesse Baez walking outside.

Facial recognition does not always help

On Behalf of | Jul 27, 2021 | Criminal Defense

Residents of Virginia may want to learn more about the use of facial recognition in criminal proceedings and why it does not always work. There’s a cautionary tale of a man in Detroit who had an arrest based on facial recognition.

government studies have shown that a problem exists with facial recognition tech: Asian and Black people are 100 times more likely to undergo wrong identification than white people.

The man in Detroit

In January 2020, a Black man faced an emotional arrest on his front lawn with his family nearby. His wife told him that police had called to tell him to turn himself in. Then they swooped in and handcuffed him, taking him to the city detention center. He was afraid to ask too many questions; they did not inform him of his crime, even as they took his mugshot and DNA samples. He slept on the cold floor of a jail cell.

After 18 hours, the ACLU connected him with a criminal defense attorney who finally told him what the charge was. Someone had stolen watches, and the store gave surveillance footage to police. They ran it through facial recognition, and his face, through his driver’s license, turned up a positive result.

An investigative tool?

This technology is seen as beneficial by companies, politicians, and police. They say that police use it solely as an investigative tool.

A filing of a suit against the police department

Because of this case, the ACLU and the University of Michigan’s Civil Rights Litigation Initiative filed a lawsuit. It is against the police department on behalf of this Detroit man. His family is suffering as a result of seeing their dad arrested; he suffers from the ordeal as well.

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