Man Wrongfully Imprisoned Due to Facial Recognition Error Joins Growing Number of Black Plaintiffs in Lawsuits

by Joshua Brown
Facial Recognition Lawsuit

Randal Quran Reid was en route to his mother’s residence on the day following Thanksgiving of the previous year when he was intercepted and detained by police on a bustling Georgia highway. Officers informed him that he was sought for criminal activities in Louisiana and subsequently incarcerated him. Reid, who identifies as Quran, spent the subsequent days in confinement, puzzled over how he could be implicated in criminal activities in a state he claims never to have visited.

This month, a legal complaint attributes his detention to the flawed application of facial recognition technology by a detective from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana.

“Uncertainty and anger overwhelmed me because I was uninformed about the situation,” Quran stated in an interview with The Big Big News. “All they told me was, ‘You have to wait for authorities from Louisiana to collect you,’ without specifying any time frame.”

Quran, aged 29, is among a growing number of Black plaintiffs who have initiated legal proceedings against law enforcement agencies. They argue that they have been erroneously identified and subsequently arrested due to faulty facial recognition technology. Among these are three lawsuits against the Detroit Police Department, one of which was filed by an eight-month-pregnant woman wrongfully accused of car theft.

Facial recognition technology enables law enforcement to input images from surveillance footage into software that cross-references government databases or social media for potential matches. Although proponents argue that it is invaluable for solving crimes, detractors assert that the technology disproportionately misidentifies people of color as compared to white individuals.

Several states and municipalities have curtailed its application. “Even with standard operating procedures in place, the use of this technology poses significant civil liberties and privacy risks,” commented Sam Starks, a senior attorney at The Cochran Firm in Atlanta, representing Quran.

The lawsuit, filed on September 8 in a federal court in Atlanta, designates Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto and Detective Andrew Bartholomew as defendants. According to the lawsuit, Bartholomew solely relied on facial recognition technology to obtain an arrest warrant for Reid, based on the unauthorized use of a credit card to purchase two purses valued at over $8,000 from a consignment store near New Orleans in June 2022.

“Detective Bartholomew failed to undertake even rudimentary inquiries into Mr. Reid, which would have disclosed his location in Georgia at the time of the alleged theft,” stated the legal complaint.

When contacted, Bartholomew declined to comment, as did Capt. Jason Rivarde, a spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office, citing ongoing litigation.

The lawsuit accuses Bartholomew of making a misleading affidavit to secure the warrant, suggesting that his ‘credible source’ was facial recognition technology. It also accuses both Bartholomew and Sheriff Lopinto of false arrest, malicious prosecution, and negligence, claiming that Lopinto failed to enforce sufficient regulations concerning the use of facial recognition technology.

After hiring a lawyer in Louisiana, Quran’s family presented evidence to the Sheriff’s Office that eventually led to the withdrawal of the arrest warrant. Quran was released six days following his arrest. He continues to grapple with the traumatic experience, pondering the potential consequences had he not had the financial means to engage legal representation. To this day, he remains vigilant when he observes police vehicles, reflecting on the ordeal and its potential ramifications.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Facial Recognition Lawsuit

What led to Randal Quran Reid’s wrongful arrest?

Randal Quran Reid was wrongfully arrested while driving on a highway in Georgia. Police informed him he was wanted for crimes in Louisiana. The arrest was based on a flawed match generated by facial recognition technology utilized by a detective in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana.

Who are the defendants in the lawsuit filed by Reid?

The lawsuit names Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph Lopinto and Detective Andrew Bartholomew as the defendants. It accuses them of false arrest, malicious prosecution, and negligence.

What are the broader implications of this case for facial recognition technology?

This case draws attention to the ongoing debate about the accuracy and ethical considerations of facial recognition technology. Critics argue that the technology disproportionately misidentifies people of color, raising significant civil liberties and privacy concerns.

How many similar lawsuits have been filed?

Quran is among at least five Black plaintiffs who have filed similar lawsuits in recent years. Three of these lawsuits are against the Detroit Police Department.

What action did the authorities take after realizing the error?

After Quran’s family hired a lawyer who presented evidence showing Quran was not the individual in the surveillance footage, the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office requested a judge to withdraw the warrant. Quran was subsequently released six days after his initial arrest.

What is the stance of critics and supporters regarding facial recognition technology?

Critics argue that facial recognition technology results in a higher rate of misidentification for people of color. Supporters, on the other hand, contend that it has been vital for solving various types of crimes, including drug trafficking and human trafficking.

What legislation exists around the use of facial recognition technology by law enforcement?

Some states and municipalities have restricted or limited the use of this technology by law enforcement agencies due to civil liberties and privacy risks.

What evidence suggests that Detective Bartholomew’s affidavit was misleading?

The lawsuit claims that Detective Bartholomew relied solely on facial recognition technology to obtain an arrest warrant for Reid but did not disclose this in the affidavit. Instead, he cited a “credible source,” which the lawsuit suggests was misleading and likely referred to the facial recognition technology itself.

What consequences did Quran face due to the wrongful arrest?

In addition to spending six days in jail, Quran’s car was towed, and he fell ill from the food provided at the detention center. He also missed work and continues to experience psychological distress from the ordeal.

What steps are being taken to address the issues related to facial recognition technology?

The case serves as an impetus for reviewing and potentially reforming policies surrounding the use of facial recognition technology. Some jurisdictions have already begun limiting its use, and public debate continues to scrutinize its reliability and ethical implications.

More about Facial Recognition Lawsuit

  • Facial Recognition Technology and Civil Liberties
  • Lawsuits Against Law Enforcement for Facial Recognition Errors
  • Wrongful Arrest Cases Involving Facial Recognition
  • Ethical Concerns in Facial Recognition Technology
  • State Legislation on Facial Recognition Technology
  • Racial Bias in Facial Recognition Technology
  • How Facial Recognition Technology Works
  • Recent Lawsuits Involving Facial Recognition
  • Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office Policies
  • Civil Liberties Organizations on Facial Recognition Technology

You may also like


CarlaF September 25, 2023 - 11:13 am

I keep thinking about Quran’s family. Imagine having to prove your loved one’s innocence bcos of some flawed tech. Terrifying.

GeorgeM September 25, 2023 - 11:14 am

So not only is this tech inaccurate but it’s also racially biased? That’s a recipe for disaster right there.

MikeR September 25, 2023 - 3:45 pm

Good read but man, what a nightmare for Quran. We gotta be more careful with this tech, or it’ll do more harm than good.

NinaS September 25, 2023 - 11:49 pm

It’s high time we looked into the implications of facial recognition on people of color. This isn’t just a tech issue; it’s a social justice issue too.

AlanW September 26, 2023 - 1:10 am

read this & now I’m wondering how many people are wrongly accused but can’t afford a lawyer to prove their innocence. Really unsettling.

SarahT September 26, 2023 - 2:00 am

I can’t believe what happened to Quran. Six days in jail for something he didn’t do! this needs to be addressed ASAP.

TimJ September 26, 2023 - 2:30 am

Facial recognition sounds like sci-fi but this? this is a real life horror story for Quran. Hope he gets justice.

EmilyH September 26, 2023 - 3:54 am

This makes me angry. It’s not the first time I’ve read about misidentification due to facial recognition. Are the authorities not listening? We need stricter laws for this.

LisaK September 26, 2023 - 6:00 am

Where’s the accountability? the tech isn’t 100% reliable and yet it’s being used to ruin lives. Makes no sense to me.

JohnDoe September 26, 2023 - 7:12 am

Wow, this is scary stuff. Never knew facial recognition could mess up so badly. Makes you rethink about how far tech should go in law enforcement, doesn’t it?


Leave a Comment


BNB – Big Big News is a news portal that offers the latest news from around the world. BNB – Big Big News focuses on providing readers with the most up-to-date information from the U.S. and abroad, covering a wide range of topics, including politics, sports, entertainment, business, health, and more.

Editors' Picks

Latest News

© 2023 BBN – Big Big News