Black man wrongfully arrested over facial recognition technology

An African American man was wrongly arrested because of police use of facial recognition technology, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Detroit. This is the first error of its kind documented in the United States.

In early January, Robert Williams was jailed for 30 hours because software judged the photo of his driver's license and the image of a watch thief captured by surveillance cameras to be identical, the complaint says.

He was arrested and handcuffed outside his home in the presence of his wife and two daughters, aged two and five. How do you explain to two little girls that a computer made a mistake but the police listened to it anyway?he writes in a column published by the Washington Post.

According to his report, after a night in the cell, officers asked him if he had ever been to a jewelry store in Detroit, a large northern industrial city, and showed him two blurry photos of a black man.

“I took the paper, held it close to my face and said, 'I hope you don't think that all black men look the same.' The police officers looked at each other and one of them said, 'The computer must have made a mistake,'” he said.

Jillian Snider

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