The Detroit Police Department has announced policy changes to enhance its photo lineup and facial recognition technology procedures following a wrongful arrest incident. Police Chief James White made the announcement on Wednesday after Porcha Woodruff filed a lawsuit against the city and Detective LaShauntia Oliver, claiming she was wrongfully arrested and imprisoned for a carjacking and robbery she did not commit.
Woodruff’s lawsuit argues that a false facial recognition match led to her wrongful identification as the suspect, despite the fact that the real suspect was not described as visibly pregnant. The lead detective, Oliver, allegedly knew this information but failed to investigate further. Charges against Woodruff were dropped a month later.
Chief White clarified that no facial recognition policies were violated, as the technology provided an investigative lead. However, the issue arose from Oliver’s violation of the department’s photo lineup policy. She included a facial recognition photo in the lineup shown to the carjacking victim, which could produce look-alikes and potentially lead to misidentification.
White emphasized that Oliver did not exhaust all investigative leads after receiving 73 potential suspects through facial recognition technology. He stated that the arrest was not due to an incorrect facial recognition match but rather poor police work and a violation of the department’s photo lineup policy.
To prevent similar incidents, the Detroit Police Department has implemented several policy changes. Officers are now prohibited from using facial recognition photos in lineups. A sequential double-blind photo lineup will be used, where each photo is individually presented to witnesses in sealed envelopes. Additionally, officers involved in an investigation where a photo lineup is used cannot present the lineup, and warrant requests for arrests involving facial technology must be reviewed by two captains.
The new policies will be reviewed by the Detroit Police Board of Commissioners, and an internal investigation has been initiated.
Upon hearing such disturbing stories, many Detroit residents have been prompted to search for a “personal lawyer near me” to understand their rights better and be prepared for any unjust situations. This reaction showcases the community’s growing mistrust in local law enforcement and their methods.