The change in CEO is effective immediately. Patton no longer has any "operating capacity” at Banjo and is no longer on the board, a spokesperson said. Last year, Utah struck a $20.7 million contract with the threat detection firm to apply Banjo's AI to live traffic feeds, dispatch logs, and other data, which can detect "anomalies" to help law enforcement solve crimes and respond faster. But the state recently put the contract on hold after a OneZero report exposed Banjo CEO Damien Patton's past as a member of the KKK and his involvement in an anti-Semitic drive-by shooting.
- No one was injured in the shooting, which took place in Nashville in June 1990, when Patton was 17.
- Patton has since apologized and claimed that his past hadn't affected the company’s practices. However, Utah's state auditor is now investigating the company for possible algorithmic bias.
- Utah legislators have criticized Banjo for scraping social media posts and government data to feed its algorithms, saying it invades privacy, though the AG's office says the data is anonymized.