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Lawsuit Filed After Facial Recognition Tech Leads to Wrongful Arrest

Robert Julian-Borchak Williams, a Michigan resident, is suing Detroit officials after facial recognition technology led to his wrongful arrest. Williams filed a federal lawsuit on April 13 against the city of Detroit, claiming that facial recognition technology was misused and relied upon during his arrest, which occurred on January 9, 2020. Williams was mistakenly linked by the technology to an October 2019 heist of five watches worth around $4,000 from a luxury goods store in the city.

The Detroit Police Crime Intelligence Section allegedly ran video footage of the theft through their facial recognition software, resulting in Williams being wrongfully identified as the perpetrator. Williams alleges that the arrest put himself and his family through emotional distress, stating that he wants to make sure the same incident does not occur to anyone else. After his arrest, Williams spent 30 hours in prison where he was forced to sleep on bare concrete, according to local media reports. The suit was filed in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of Williams.

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