Facial recognition technology used by Detroit police falsely linked a second man to a crime he didn't commit. The Detroit Free Press reports that Michael Oliver, who is Black, was improperly flagged and later charged as a suspect in a phone-damaging incident, despite no resemblance to the perpetrator.
- In the May 2019 incident, the suspect had his photo taken shortly before grabbing a person's phone and throwing it, which caused damages. The facial recognition system matched that photo to Oliver.
- The suspect in the original photo appeared to have darker skin and no tattoos, unlike Oliver. He was still charged with a felony count of larceny, which was later dismissed by a judge.
- Last month, we reported that the ACLU filed a complaint against Detroit police for wrongfully arresting Robert Julian-Borchak Williams based on a faulty facial recognition match, the first known case in the U.S. Williams, who is Black, was detained for a day in January after the face recognition service falsely matched him to a shoplifter.
- As a result of the false arrests, Wayne County, where Detroit is located, has more stringent protocols in facial recognition cases, prosecutor Kym Worthy said. It's now only being used to investigate violent felonies.
- The false matches renewed concerns about racism in AI facial recognition systems, which are shown to perform noticeably worse on nonwhite faces, a NIST study shows.