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NJ man wrongfully arrested based on facial recognition sues police and prosecutors

NJ man wrongfully arrested based on facial recognition sues police and prosecutors

A New Jersey man has filed a civil rights lawsuit against police and prosecutors alleging racial profiling and misconduct in their use of face biometrics to arrest him, in the absence of other evidence, according to NJ.com.

NiJeer Parks had a criminal record and had been released from prison in 2016, after which he resolved not to reoffend, according to the report.

During a shoplifting incident in early-2019 at a Hampton Inn in Woodbridge, NJ, a man presented a Tennessee driver’s license to police, which they determined was not valid and possibly fraudulent. The suspect escaped, nearly hitting a police officer and striking a patrol car but leaving behind the license. Police allegedly used the license to perform a search with facial recognition against state mug-shot records, which returned a match for Parks.

Informed that police were looking for him, Parks was driven to a police station by his cousin to try to clear up a case of mistaken identity, but was arrested. Parks claims that he was denied counsel, and held in jail for 10 days before posting bail. Cashing in his life savings to fight the “numerous” charges in court, Parks was offered a sentence of six years in prison for a guilty plea, and told prosecutors intended to seek a 20-year sentence otherwise.

The Superior Court judge demanded evidence beyond the facial recognition match, which is not eligible as a legal ground for probable cause anywhere in the U.S. or most of the world. The charges were dismissed by the prosecutor’s office a few months later.

Parks’ attorney is suing police and prosecutors, arguing he was improperly pursued for nearly a year based on only the probabilistic biometric match.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal placed a moratorium on the use of facial recognition by Clearview AI and “products like it” for police investigations nearly a year ago.

The New York Times counts three cases of wrongful arrest based on the inability or unwillingness of U.S. police to use facial recognition in accordance with the law. All three are Black men.

Detroit-area man Michael Oliver also launched a suit against police over his arrest last year.

The Times inquired with a pair of state investigators, the New York State Intelligence Center and the New Jersey’s Regional Operations Intelligence Center, which were all involved with the investigation, but was unable to ascertain what facial recognition system was used to make the biometric match.

Fordham Law conference presenters suggest police facial recognition use becoming ubiquitous

The use of face biometrics by law enforcement could be jeopardized by repeated procedural violations, and at the recent Fordham Law Facial Recognition conference, Fordham Law Visiting Professor of Law Shlomit Yanisky-Ravid suggested a lack of dialogue between industry and regulators is blocking the establishment of efficient regulation.

Speaking at the conference, AnyVision VP of EMEA Enrico Montagnino said “Facial recognition technology is here to stay. Within a few years almost every police officer in the world will have a body camera connected in real time to some kind of facial recognition system. The challenge is to build a legal framework that will allow such systems to operate accurately and fairly.”

Montagnino offered five criteria developed by AnyVision for fair, ethical and unbiased use of facial recognition technology, including awareness of its potential for misuse.

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