A person who was falsely accused of shoplifting has sued the Detroit Police Department for arresting him based mostly on an incorrect facial recognition match. The American Civil Liberties Union filed swimsuit on behalf of Robert Williams, whom it calls the primary US individual wrongfully arrested based mostly on facial recognition.
The Detroit Police Division arrested Williams in 2019 after analyzing safety footage from a shoplifting incident. A detective used facial recognition expertise on a grainy picture from the video, and the system flagged Williams as a possible match based mostly on a driver’s license picture. However as the lawsuit notes, facial recognition is regularly inaccurate, significantly with Black topics and a low-quality image. The division then produced a photograph lineup that included Williams’ image, confirmed it to a safety guard who hadn’t truly witnessed the shoplifting incident, and obtained a warrant when that guard picked him from the lineup.
Williams — who had been driving dwelling from work throughout the incident — spent 30 hours in a detention middle. The ACLU later filed a proper criticism on his behalf, and the prosecutor’s workplace apologized, saying he may have the case expunged from his data.
The ACLU claims Detroit police used facial recognition below circumstances that they need to have identified would produce unreliable outcomes, then dishonestly failed to say the system’s shortcomings — together with a “woefully substandard” picture and the identified racial bias of recognition methods.
The division itself has acknowledged that Williams’ arrest was based mostly on “sloppy investigative work” and different errors. However the criticism calls this incident a part of a sample, pointing to a second wrongful arrest involving a Black man misidentified by facial recognition tech. That man, Michael Oliver, sued the department final yr. Exterior Detroit, no less than one other Black man has sued for a wrongful arrest based mostly on facial recognition.
Hundreds of legislation enforcement companies have allegedly used facial recognition tech to establish suspects. However a backlash has led a number of cities to ban the observe, whereas Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon have pledged to maintain their methods out of police fingers.