In Detroit, authorities were striving to solve the puzzle on the identity of the thief who has stolen five watches from a Shinola outlet. Around $3,800 worth of merchandise has been taken by the shoplifter.
A security video that recorded the incident was pulled by investigators. Detectives used the grainy footage to identify the person who appeared in the video and used facial recognition software to determine the suspect.
A hit came out: a man named Robert Julian-Borchak Williams, 42 years old from Farmington Hills, Mich., over 25 miles northwest of Detroit.
In January, authorities arrested Williams at his home while he was standing on his front lawn with his wife and two daughters who were emotional watching the cops placing their father in the patrol car, NPR reported.
Melissa Williams, the wife of Robert, desperately demanded where the police officers will take her husband. Mrs. Williams remembers an officer answering her to Google it.
Robert Williams was interrogated by the officers in a room and placed three photos in front of him, where two of the photos were taken by the store's surveillance camera and the other is his state-issued driver's license photo.
In an interview, Robert Williams stated the picture only showed a big Black guy and did not see any resemblance after all.
Williams also stated that while the detective was flipping the third page, which contains his state-issued driver's license, he said the computer got it wrong and admitted that he was the man on the third picture. But he refused that he was the man captured by the surveillance camera.
While being interrogated, he picked up the photos taken by the surveillance camera and held it near his face telling the police officers that not all Black people are look alike.
According to Williams' lawyer, he was detained for 30 hours and was bailed out until a court hearing on his case.
In a report by Forbes, during the hearing, a prosecutor of Wayne County dropped the charges against Williams since the evidence presented was insufficient.
Civil rights experts claimed that Williams was the first documented example of someone being wrongfully arrested based on the false hit generated by the facial recognition technology.
Based in the charging documents, what made Williams' case different was that his arrest was prompted by the facial recognition technology, which was conducted by Michigan State Police in a crime laboratory as requested by the Detroit Police Department.
Despite the repeated claims of Williams' party saying that the match generated by the artificial intelligence was incorrect, the pursuit of Williams as a probable suspect of the incident came.
The suspect in the incident was caught in the security camera wearing a red St. Louis Cardinals hat. As a Detroit native defended he would never be wearing such hat by any chance.
Lawyer Phil Mayor said with the ACLU of Michigan that the police who arrested Williams never asked him any question before being arrested. They did not even ask if the arrested has his alibi, nor asked him to own a red Cardinals hat. And they even failed to ask Williams where he was that day.
On Wednesday, a complaint against the Detroit Police Department was filed by the ACLU of Michigan asking the authority to refrain from using the software in investigations.