‘Very Poor Police Work’: Detroit Police Department Implements New Policies After Coming Under Fire for Falsely Arresting Pregnant Woman Due to Faulty Facial Recognition Technology

The police department that has come under scrutiny for falsely arresting a Detroit woman due to botched facial recognition technology has announced that it will be updating its policies.

Last week, Detroit police chief James White acknowledged the “very poor police work” that led to the detainment of 32-year-old Porcha Woodruff on Feb. 16, according to The Associated Press. 

She was getting her children ready for school when officers arrived at her door with a warrant under allegations of robbery and carjacking. Woodruff, who was pregnant at the time, was held in jail for hours before she was released, resulting in her experiencing stress-related contractions. 

Pregnant Wrongfully Arrested Because of Facial Recognition
Porcha Woodruff was eight months pregnant when she was wrongfully arrested by Detroit police on Feb. 16, 2023. (Photo: Click on Detroit/YouTube screenshot)

She later learned that her photo was picked out after police ran facial recognition technology. Woodruff reportedly had no connection to the incident, and her charges were dismissed due to lack of evidence. She filed a lawsuit against the city earlier this month.

“This would be no different than if we took a mug book, a paper mug book, like the old days, and took a picture out and went out and said ‘Is this the person?’ and you said ‘Yes’ and we arrested them,” White said at a press conference, per WDIV. “That would be improper. The same is true here. That is the beginning of the investigation.”

Per the AP, White emphasized that officers can’t “use facial-recognition-derived images in a photographic lineup.”

According to the report, he added that warrants need to be checked by two captains when the technology plays a role in a case, and additional evidence must be presented against a suspect.

“We want to ensure that nothing like this happens again,” White said, the outlet reported.

Despite legal action and pushback from the community, the police department will continue to use the technology. The Detroit Board of Police Commissioners debated whether to suspend the use of it for a year but ultimately voted against that proposal last Thursday, WXYZ reported. 

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