Keystone AI Cops: Facial Recognition Tech Leads to Wrongful Arrest of Heavily Pregnant Detroit Woman

AI Facial Recognition Fingers Pregnant Woman for Carjacking
Federal Court Document

The Detroit Police Department (DPD) has come under scrutiny after wrongfully arresting an innocent woman eight months into her pregnancy because of a flawed facial recognition match. The AI-driven technology mistakenly pointed to the heavily pregnant woman for a robbery and carjacking case, charges made absurd by her physical condition at the time of the crime.

Artificial Intelligence News reports that the Detroit Police Department (DPD) is facing scrutiny following the wrongful arrest of an innocent woman due to a flawed facial recognition match. The victim, Porcha Woodruff, was eight months pregnant at the time, is the sixth individual to come forward and report being falsely accused of a crime because of the controversial technology used by law enforcement.

A man watches as a visitor tries out a facial recognition display at a booth for Chinese tech firm Ping'an Technology at the Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) in Beijing, Thursday, April 26, 2018. The GMIC features current and future trends in the mobile Internet industry by some major foreign and Chinese internet companies. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

 (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

The emblem for the Detroit Police Department is seen on the sleeve of an officer outside of the Theodore Levin U.S. Courthouse in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Wednesday, July 24, 2013. Detroit began its first court hearing after filing the biggest U.S. municipal bankruptcy. The city plans to seek a court order barring lawsuits against Michigan Governor Rick Snyder that are related to the case. Photographer: Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg via Getty Images

 Photographer: Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Woodruff was charged with robbery and carjacking, accusations she found absurd given her advanced pregnancy. She reportedly expressed her disbelief to the arresting officers, pointing to her visibly pregnant belly and asking “are you kidding?”

This incident is part of a concerning pattern of wrongful arrests linked to facial recognition technology. Woodruff’s case is particularly significant as she is the first woman to report such an incident.

This marks the third known instance of a wrongful arrest in the past three years attributed specifically to the DPD’s reliance on inaccurate facial recognition matches. Robert Williams, who is represented by the ACLU of Michigan and the University of Michigan Law School’s Civil Rights Litigation Initiative (CRLI), is currently pursuing a lawsuit against the DPD for his wrongful arrest in January 2020 due to similar technological errors.

Phil Mayor, Senior Staff Attorney at ACLU of Michigan, expressed deep concern over the DPD’s continued use of facial recognition technology despite knowing its devastating consequences. He emphasized that Ms. Woodruff’s distressing experience underscores the urgent need for the Department to cease its use of this technology.

“It’s deeply concerning that the Detroit Police Department knows the devastating consequences of using flawed facial recognition technology as the basis for someone’s arrest and continues to rely on it anyway,” Mayor said. “As Ms Woodruff’s horrifying experience illustrates, the Department’s use of this technology must end.”

The deployment of facial recognition technology in law enforcement has been a subject of ongoing debate, with critics raising concerns about its accuracy, racial bias, and potential infringements on privacy and civil liberties. Critics argue that relying solely on facial recognition for arrests poses significant risks and can have severe repercussions for innocent individuals, as demonstrated in Woodruff’s case. Calls for transparency and accountability have intensified, with civil rights organizations urging the DPD to suspend its use of facial recognition until the technology is thoroughly evaluated and proven to be unbiased and accurate.

Read more at Artificial Intelligence News here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan