An eight-month-old woman was arrested on suspicion of mismatching facial recognition and sued the city of Detroit, according to multiple reports.
Pocha Woodruff, 32, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, alleging wrongful arrest. new york times (NYT) reported.
The NYT reported that Woodruff was arrested on burglary and carjacking charges in February when she was eight months pregnant and preparing her two daughters for school. Woodruff, a licensed esthetician and nursing student, said he asked the officers, “Are you kidding?” given her pregnancy status.
A carjacking victim reportedly picked up a woman on the street and had sex in a liquor store parking lot. The victim was then allegedly handed over the car at gunpoint at a gas station by a man who allegedly had picked up the woman, the NYT reported.
Facial recognition analysis reportedly matched Woodruff’s face to the face of the woman seen in the carjacking’s CCTV footage. A carjacking victim also reportedly identified Woodruff among photographs of six black women. According to the NYT, Woodruff was arrested in 2015 for driving with an expired license. (Related: DoD and FBI collaborate on AI, facial recognition tech for federal agencies, documents show)
Pocha Woodruff thought the police who showed up at her doorstep to arrest her for car robbery were joking.
Eight months pregnant, she became the first known woman to be wrongfully accused of facial recognition technology. https://t.co/1xV29i6RAt
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 6, 2023
The New York Times reported that Woodruff was detained for 11 hours and was hospitalized for dehydration after being released on $100,000 personal bail. The lawsuit was reportedly dismissed in March due to insufficient evidence.
The New York Times noted that the woman involved in the carjacking was apparently not pregnant at the time of the attack.
Woodruff is the first woman on record to be falsely accused based on inaccurate matching of facial recognition, the report said. The city of Detroit is reportedly facing two other similar lawsuits.
Woodruff’s lawsuit also alleges violations of Fourth Amendment rights that protect against wrongful imprisonment and wrongful seizure. washington post. Woodruff’s lawsuit alleges that facial recognition technology has a flawed record, particularly regarding black identities.
According to the Washington Post, “facial recognition alone is not a compelling reason for arrest,” the lawsuit continues.