Randal Quran Reid, a 29-year-old Black man, was wrongfully arrested and held for about a week in jail due to the misuse of facial recognition technology nearly a year ago. Quran was driving to a relative’s home just outside of Atlanta when he was pulled over by Dekalb County police officers claiming that he had two outstanding warrants out of Jefferson Parish. Unknowingly, Quran asked where Jefferson Parish was, as he had never heard of that county. He was told that it was in Louisiana, which confused Quran more as he had never been to Louisiana. Shortly after, Quran was taken to a Dekalb County jail, where he was held for nearly a week for his extradition.
"I asked them why I was being locked up," Quran said. "'What is it even saying that I did?' And then they just kept telling me that it was out of their jurisdiction, and they didn't really know."
The Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s office used facial recognition technology to wrongfully identify Quran as a suspect accused of using stolen credit cards to purchase thousands of dollars’ worth of designer bags in Louisiana, according to the complaint filed.
"The facial recognition technology spits out three names: Quran plus two individuals. It is our belief that the detective in this case took those names… and just sought arrest warrants without doing any other investigation, without doing anything else to determine whether or not Quran was actually the individual that was in the store video."
The lawsuit was filed on September 8th, 2023, and accuses the wrongful use of facial recognition technology by a sheriff’s detective in Louisiana for the ordeal. This technology allows law enforcement to put images from video surveillance into software that can search databases and social media platforms for possible matches.
“The use of this technology by law enforcement, even if standards and protocols are in place, has grave civil liberty and privacy concerns, and that’s to say nothing about the reliability of the technology itself.”
The lawsuit names Jefferson Parish Sherriff, Joseph Lopinto, and detective, Andrew Bartholomew as the defendants. Using video surveillance, Bartholomew relied on a match generated by facial recognition technology as means for putting out warrants for Quran’s arrest.
“Bartholomew did not conduct even a basic search into Mr. Reid (Quran), which would have revealed that Mr. Reid (Quran) was in Georgia when the theft occurred,” the lawsuit stated.
In the lawsuit, Bartholomew is accused of false arrest, negligence, and malicious prosecution. Lopinto is also held liable as he failed to implement adequate policies surrounding their use of facial recognition technology.
The traumatic experience that Quran went through still haunts him nearly a year later, as expressed in an interview.
“Every time I see police in my rearview mirror, it just flashes back my mind to what could have happened even though I hadn’t done anything.”
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