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Recent Lawsuits Show Racial Biases In Facial Recognition Technology For Police Departments

29-year-old Black man Randal Quran Reid is one of five Black plaintiffs who have initiated lawsuits against law enforcement, alleging misidentification by facial recognition technology leading to wrongful arrests. Among these cases, three involve Detroit police. Facial recognition technology allows authorities to input surveillance images into software that scans government databases or social media for potential matches. Critics argue that it disproportionately misidentifies people of color compared to white individuals.

Last year, Randal Quran Reid, known as Quran, found himself arrested on a Georgia interstate while en route to his mother's house a day after Thanksgiving. The cause? He was wanted for crimes in Louisiana, a place he insists he had never visited. His subsequent days in jail were bewildering as he grappled with the accusation.

Quran's lawsuit, filed on September 8th in federal court in Atlanta, names Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto and detective Andrew Bartholomew as defendants. Bartholomew, relying solely on facial recognition technology, obtained an arrest warrant for Quran after a stolen credit card was used to buy expensive purses outside New Orleans. However, Bartholomew did not verify Quran's location at the time of the theft, which was in Georgia.

Despite an affidavit mentioning surveillance footage, it omitted the use of facial recognition technology, causing confusion. The suit alleges false arrest, malicious prosecution, and negligence on Bartholomew's part and asserts that Lopinto failed to establish adequate policies around facial recognition technology use. Quran's family hired an attorney who presented evidence, including photos and videos, to clear his name. Ultimately, the warrant was withdrawn, and Quran was released after six days in Georgia's DeKalb County jail.

Quran’s story highlights the pressing concerns surrounding the use of facial recognition technology in law enforcement. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Link: NBCNews


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