Facial recognition technology jailed a man for days. His lawsuit joins others from Black plaintiffs

Randal Quran Reid poses for a portait at his attorney's office, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023, in Atlanta. Reid says the use of facial recognition technology by a sheriff's detective in Louisiana led to his arrest for crimes he did not commit. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

ATLANTA — Randal Quran Reid was driving to his mother’s home the day after Thanksgiving last year when police pulled him over and arrested him on the side of a busy Georgia interstate.

He was wanted for crimes in Louisiana, they told him, before taking him to jail. Reid, who prefers to be identified as Quran, would spend the next several days locked up, trying to figure out how he could be a suspect in a state he says he had never visited.


A lawsuit filed this month blames the misuse of facial recognition technology by a sheriff’s detective in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, for his ordeal.

“I was confused and I was angry because I didn’t know what was going on,” Quran told The Associated Press. “They couldn’t give me any information outside of, ‘You’ve got to wait for Louisiana to come take you,’ and there was no timeline on that.”

Quran, 29, is among at least five Black plaintiffs who have filed lawsuits against law enforcement in recent years, saying they were misidentified by facial recognition technology and then wrongly arrested. Three of those lawsuits, including one by a woman who was eight months pregnant and accused of a carjacking, are against Detroit police.

Critics say the technology results in a higher rate of misidentification of people of color than of white people. Supporters say it has been vital in catching drug dealers, solving killings and missing persons cases and identifying and rescuing human trafficking victims.

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