AI Nightmare Leads To Wrong Arrest

( The use of facial recognition technology by Louisiana authorities led to the mistaken arrest of a Georgia man on a fugitive warrant, according to the man’s attorney.

Randall Reid, 28, was arrested in late November in DeKalb County, Georgia after the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office issued a warrant for his arrest in connection to the theft of luxury purses from a Metairie consignment shop in June based on an ID from facial recognition software.

Local police in Fulton County pulled Reid over on November 25 as he was heading to a late Thanksgiving dinner with his mother. The officers informed Reid that there was a warrant for his arrest out of Jefferson Parish in Louisiana, according to the New Orleans Advocate.

According to Reid’s attorney Tommy Calogero, police released his client on December 1 after detectives “tacitly” admitted the error. Calogero said differences, like the mole on Reid’s face and the disparity in weight between Reid and the purse thief, led the Jefferson sheriff to rescind the warrant against his client.

Reid’s arrest highlights the concerns over the use of facial recognition technology that critics claim results in a higher rate of misidentification among people of color than whites. Randall Reid is black.

Facial recognition software has also been criticized because of its mass surveillance capabilities which raise privacy concerns.

Some cities in Louisiana have clamped down on the police’s use of facial recognition technology in recent years. However, several, including New Orleans, backed off due to rising crime.

Police in New Orleans said facial recognition can only be used to generate possible leads and officers are required to get approval from department officials before lodging a request through the Louisiana State Analytic and Fusion Exchange in Baton Rouge.

Under the current rules in New Orleans, all possible matches must first undergo peer review by other facial recognition investigators.

Legislation to restrict the use of facial recognition in Louisiana failed to make it out of committee during the 2021 legislative session.