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Advancements in technology are a gift and a curse. We all take full advantage of the things that science and engineering have made possible for us in the 21st century. However, there is a downside to those advancements that have been well documented in the context of social media, child safety, and financial security. However, what seems less talked about is the effect of technology on criminal justice and policing. Sure, there have been movies like Minority Report and Robocop that make the case about the dangers of computers doing a job that lacks human discernment but it’s certainly a topic that needs to be discussed more in the public square. BOSSIP reported on the issues with “iPolicing” in a 2019 article.

According to a Gizmodo report, a Black man from Georgia named Randall Reid was arrested and locked up for a week on charges of stealing $10,000 worth of Louis Vuitton and Chanel purses from a Louisiana boutique. He was on his way to a Thanksgiving dinner when police arrested him based on facial recognition software that identified him as the thief. The problem is, Reid has never even been to Louisiana. His lawyer Tommy Calogero says that Reid is at least 40 pounds lighter than the man in the surveillance video. He told the New Orleans Advocate eventually released Reid with a whole lot of egg on their face with “tacit” acknowledgment of their egregious mistake.

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

We already know that the police ain’t s**t. We know they care more about stats and busting heads than they do about the actual citizens that they swore to protect. But the fact that a police chief, judge, prosecutor, or anyone else on the chain of command would allow this arrest to be made based on a computer program is exactly why people stood in the streets and chanted “defund the police”.
We hope that Randall Reid takes so much money out of the city’s coffers in a lawsuit that the police budget is run down to zero.
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