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Georgia Man Sues Louisiana Detective Over Wrongful Arrest Based On Facial Recognition

Photo Credit: AP

According to a report by the Associated Press on Monday, September 25, 2023, a Georgia man who was wrongly arrested and jailed for six days due to a faulty facial recognition match is suing the Louisiana detective who issued the warrant for his arrest.

Randal Quran Reid, 29, says he was driving to his mother’s home in Atlanta on November 27, 2022, when he was pulled over and taken into custody by police. He was told he was wanted for crimes in Louisiana, a state he claims he had never visited.

Reid’s lawsuit, filed on September 8 in federal court in Atlanta, alleges that detective Andrew Bartholomew of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office violated his constitutional rights by relying solely on a facial recognition match to accuse him of stealing.

The officer accused him of using a stolen credit card to buy two purses worth more than $8,000 from a consignment store outside New Orleans in June 2022.

The lawsuit claims that Bartholomew did not conduct any further investigation to verify the identity of the suspect before obtaining the warrant. Reid says he spent several days in a Georgia jail, where he was denied phone calls, medical attention, and access to an attorney.

He says he suffered physical and emotional distress, as well as damage to his reputation and career. He was finally released on December 3, 2022, after his public defender contacted the Louisiana authorities and provided evidence that Reid was not the person they were looking for.

Reid’s case is one of several lawsuits filed by Black plaintiffs who say they were falsely identified and arrested by facial recognition technology. Critics of the technology say it is prone to errors and biases, especially when it comes to people of color.

They argue that the technology should not be used as the sole basis for arrests or prosecutions and that there should be more oversight and regulation of its use by law enforcement agencies.

Supporters of the technology say it is a valuable tool that can help solve crimes and protect public safety. They say that facial recognition technology is not inherently flawed, but rather depends on the quality of the data and the training of the users.

They also point out that facial recognition technology is only one of many factors that are considered in criminal investigations, and that human verification and confirmation are always required before making an arrest or filing charges.

The use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement has sparked debate and controversy across the country. Some states and cities have banned or limited its use, while others have embraced it as a way to enhance security and efficiency.

The federal government has also been developing guidelines and standards for the technology but has not yet issued any binding regulations or legislation. Reid’s lawsuit seeks unspecified damages and injunctive relief from the defendants.

It also asks the court to declare that the use of facial recognition technology without proper safeguards violates the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, and the Fourteenth Amendment, which guarantees equal protection under the law.

Reid says he hopes his lawsuit will raise awareness about the dangers of facial recognition technology and prevent others from suffering the same fate as him.

“I don’t want this to happen to anybody else,” he said. “I want them to be more careful with this technology and make sure they have all the facts before they accuse somebody of something they didn’t do.”

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