Facial recognition technology lands wrong man behind bars for SIX days despite glaring discrepancies

Authorities got the wrong man thanks to flawed facial recognition technology that identified him as a fugitive, landing him in jail for six days in DeKalb County, Georgia, despite having never been in Louisiana where the crimes took place and being 40 pounds lighter than the actual suspect.

(Video Credit: 11 Alive)

Randall Reid’s attorney, Tommy Calogero, made a statement on the mistaken November 25 arrest after the 28-year-old was identified as a purse thief who was wanted for thefts in Jefferson Parish and Baton Rouge. He said his client was falsely linked to the June theft of luxury purses from a consignment shop in Metairie, a New Orleans suburb in Jefferson Parish.

Over $10,000 worth of luxury Chanel and Louis Vuitton purses were stolen over a three-day period.

“They told me I had a warrant out of Jefferson Parish. I said, ‘What is Jefferson Parish?'” Reid stated, according to NOLA. “I have never been to Louisiana a day in my life. Then they told me it was for theft. So not only have I not been to Louisiana, I also don’t steal.”

Reid was released on December 1 after authorities realized the facial recognition digital tool had made a mistake. That won’t stop a lawsuit which is no doubt in the works after the goof.

The young man is black and many critics claim that the technology results in a higher rate of misidentification of people of color than it does of white people, according to NOLA.

A Baton Rouge Police Department detective used the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office’s facial identification of Reid to obtain an arrest warrant, identifying him as one of three men who were involved in another theft that week, according to court records.

The Jefferson sheriff noticed discrepancies in Reid’s appearance compared to the actual suspect in surveillance footage including a mole on the young man’s face and a 40-pound difference in weight. The warrant at that point was rescinded.

“I think they realized they went out on a limb making an arrest based on a face,” Calogero told NOLA in an interview.

Reid’s mistaken arrest renews debate on facial recognition tools that have been used in Louisiana and across the country in detaining suspects.


The New Orleans City Council voted in July to allow police to use facial recognition after several people complained about privacy issues, according to NOLA.

Facial recognition is usually a tool of last resort in violent crimes when all other attempts to identify a suspect have failed.

Authorities in New Orleans note that facial recognition can be used only to generate leads and that officers must get approval from department officials before filing a request that makes its way through the Louisiana State Analytic and Fusion Exchange in Baton Rouge.

Per the city’s rules, all possible matches must be subjected to a peer review by other facial recognition investigators.

Legislation that would have restricted the use of facial recognition statewide unceremoniously died during the 2021 session.

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