September 25, 2023

Black Man Wrongfully Jailed After Facial Recognition Match Sues Police

Randal Reid

Randal Quran Reid spent almost a week in jail after Louisiana police wrongly identified him using facial recognition software. He has now filed a lawsuit against them.

What Happened?

Reid, 28, was driving to his mother’s house for Thanksgiving when local police pulled him over and arrested him.

They had used facial recognition software, and the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office (JPSO) identified him as a suspect in a spate of thefts in Louisiana.

Reid, however, had never set foot in Louisiana and was unaware of what Jefferson Parish was.

There were also visible physical differences between Reid and the actual suspect, such as a 40-pound difference in body weight and a mole.

After a week in jail, JPSO rescinded the warrant and let Reid go.

Reid’s Lawsuit

Reid filed a lawsuit on September 8 over the misuse of facial recognition technology by sheriff’s detective Joseph Lopinto and detective Andrew Bartholomew in Jefferson Parish.

ABC News reported that Bartholomew, using surveillance video, relied solely on a match generated by facial recognition technology to seek an arrest warrant for Reid.

“Bartholomew did not conduct even a basic search into Mr. Reid, which would have revealed that Mr. Reid was in Georgia when the theft occurred,” the lawsuit read.

The suit accuses Bartholomew of false arrest, malicious prosecution and negligence.

Lopinto failed to implement adequate policies around the use of facial recognition technology, so he, too, should be liable, the lawsuit states.

Bartholomew and the sheriff’s office had no comment on the pending litigation.

One of Five Black People Filing Lawsuits

Reid is among at least five Black individuals who recently filed lawsuits against law enforcement, saying they were misidentified by facial recognition technology and then wrongly arrested.

32-year-old pregnant Porcha Woodruff was eight months pregnant when she was arrested after facial recognition technology wrongly identified her as a suspect in a robbery and carjacking.

Woodruff was identified based on a 2015 mugshot after being caught driving with an expired license.

They used the eight-year-old photo in a line-up for the victim rather than the 2021 driver’s license through a facial recognition vendor, DataWorks Plus.

Six police officers turned up at her home, handcuffed her and took her to the Detroit Detention Center, where she stayed for 11 hours whilst having contractions, spasms, and a panic attack.

In August 2023, she filed a lawsuit against the city of Detroit in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

The lawsuit alleged false arrest, false imprisonment and a violation of her Fourth Amendment rights.

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.