Lawsuit Alleges Wrongly Accused Person Landed in Jail Thanks to Facial Recognition False Positive, Then Assaulted

Matthew Gault, Vice:

In January of 2022, Harvey Murphy was arrested and thrown in jail while trying to get his driver’s license renewed at a local DMV. According to a $10 million lawsuit Murphy has since filed, a “loss prevention” agent working for a Sunglass Hut retail store used facial recognition software to accuse Murphy of perpetrating an armed robbery at a store in Houston, Texas. In reality, Murphy was more than 2,000 miles away at the time of the robbery.

According to a lawsuit 61-year-old Murphy has filed against Macy’s and Sunglass Hut, “he was arrested and put into an overcrowded maximum-security jail with violent criminals. While in jail trying to prove his innocence, he was beaten, gang-raped, and left with permanent and awful life-long injuries. Hours after being beaten and gang-raped, the charges against him were dropped and he was released.”

Via Tim Cushing, Techdirt:

Law enforcement loves to portray detentions that only last “hours” to be so minimally detrimental to people’s rights as to not be worth of additional attention, much less the focus of a civil rights lawsuit. But it only takes seconds to violate a right. And once it’s violated, it stays violated, even if charges are eventually dropped.

As usual, nobody is posting the original text of the lawsuit, so I pulled a copy myself.

What happened to Murphy is obviously the product of several failures at a human level. However, it is hard for me to believe any of this would have materialized without a false positive facial recognition which, allegedly, was conducted by EssilorLuxottica and Macy’s, not law enforcement. Even for the regulation reluctant, this must be one area where much stricter oversight and policies are enforced.

Update: I adjusted the headline for clarity.