Facial Recognition Tool Led To Wrongful Arrest Of Black Man, Lawyer Says

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A 28-year-old Georgia Black man was wrongfully arrested on a fugitive warrant after a facial recognition tool used by Louisiana authorities misidentified him, his lawyer alleges.

According to the Associated Press, Randall Reid, 28, was jailed in DeKalb County, Georgia in November after being falsely linked to luxury purse thefts in Jefferson Parish and Baton Rouge, Louisiana through facial recognition technology.

Reid told AP News that he had never been to Lousiana before.

“They told me I had a warrant out of Jefferson Parish. I said, ‘What is Jefferson Parish?’” Reid said. “I have never been to Louisiana a day in my life. Then they told me it was for theft. So not only have I not been to Louisiana, I also don’t steal.”

“Not eating, not sleeping. I’m thinking about these charges," he continued. "Not doing anything because I don’t know what’s really going on the whole time. They didn’t even try to make the right ID.”

Reid was eventually released due to a mole on his face and a 40-pound weight difference that didn't match the suspect seen on surveillance video.

“Police could have checked his height and weight or made an effort to speak to him or asked to walk through his house to look for evidence," Tommy Calogero, his attorney, said. "He would have complied. There are 300 million people in this country. All of us have someone who appears identical to us.”

The wrongful arrest renews attention to criticism of facial recognition technology, which misidentified Black people and other people of color at a higher rate than their white counterparts.

Jefferson Sheriff Joe Lopinto’s office did not respond to comment on Reid's arrest or the agency's use of facial recognition, per The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate.

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