Nijeer Parks was trying to make amends. He shared with CNN Business in March, that he served in prison, he was convicted on charges relating to drugs but after he got out, he started working carpenter jobs. But he still ended up in jail again, but this on charges that he was innocent of. CNN Business shared details that Nijeer was arrested in New Jersey in 2019 on various charges of marijuana possession, fake ID, assault, and shoplifting. He thought it must be a mistake and hence took his documents to a station to clear his name.
Nijeer shared with CNN Business, “Four or five minutes later as me and [the clerk] were talking, two other officers walk up and tell me to put my hands behind my back. He’s like, ‘Put your hands behind your back. You’re under arrest.'” This happened because facial recognition software wrongly identified him and that is why the police arrested him. Nijeer is not the only one, with whom this has happened.
As per The New York Times, Along with Nijeer, two other Black men have been wrongfully arrested because of the software’s mistakes. The three men have lawsuits filed against the police now. As per the Detroit Free Press, Michael Oliver was accused of being a thief, they said he stole his professor’s phone and thew it. Michael was suspected because the software identified him and the police charged him with larceny. However, even the professor identified Michael during a picture lineup. Evette Griffie, The Police Commissioner of Detroit, said to the police that “proper checks and balances must happen to make sure that what’s supposed to happen is actually happening,” “One mistake is too many.”
Again in Detroit, Robert Williams was working at his company when the police called him and told him they will be coming to arrest him. He thought somebody was playing a prank on him. As per The Times, this was no prank, police officers were waiting for him when he reached his home and arrested him while his family watched. As per the paper, he was not told why he was being arrested only “larceny” and “felony warrant” were words being thrown around by the police.
In June 2020, Microsoft, IBM, and Amazon announced that they are halting the use of their technology for facial recognition by the police. Amazon issued a statement saying, “We’ve advocated that governments should put in place stronger regulations to govern the ethical use of facial recognition technology, and in recent days, Congress appears ready to take on this challenge. We hope this one-year moratorium might give Congress enough time to implement appropriate rules, and we stand ready to help if requested.”
Currently, the Police Department in Detroit is only using this software in cases that involve violence but it may not be enough. In 2017, FBI Deputy Assistant Director Kimberly Del Greco had testified that this software is “not to be considered a positive identification of a subject,” and it “remains an investigative lead only.”