AI leads to man being wrongfully jailed and accused of violent robbery despite 'rock-solid alibi'

Tuesday, January 23, 2024
AI leads to man being wrongfully jailed and accused of violent robbery
A lawsuit claims a California man was wrongfully arrested and accused in a Texas robbery after facial recognition technology sent authorities his way.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- In a newly filed civil lawsuit, lawyers explain how faulty facial recognition software led to 61-year-old Harvey Murphy Jr.'s wrongful arrest and imprisonment.

"He is very scared, upset, and traumatized by everything that happened," Attorney Daniel Dutko said.

According to the 11-page lawsuit, Murphy was accused of robbing a Sunglass Hut in the Houston area.

The lawsuit details that the head of loss prevention for the parent company, EssilorLuxottica, worked with Macy's and used facial recognition software run by artificial intelligence to identify Murphy.

Dutko said the companies notified the police.

"The issue is, the entities that took away Mr. Murphy's freedom are the entities that told police, 'Stop your investigation, we have your guy,'" Dutko said.

Police conducted a photo lineup, and the employee working at the time of the robbery identified Murphy as the robber, according to the lawsuit.

A warrant was then issued for Murphy's arrest.

Murphy was living in California at the time this occurred, according to his lawyers.

He was arrested when he returned to Texas and tried to renew his license, his lawyer said.

His lawyers said he was taken to jail before prosecutors realized he had an alibi.

Murphy was in jail in California when the robbery happened. He was then released from custody.

During his short time in the Harris County Jail, Murphy's lawyers said he was sexually assaulted.

A representative from Macy's said they do not comment on pending litigation.

"The issue is, what software are they using and what are the parameters?" Dutko asked.

EssilorLuxottica did not respond to ABC13's request for comment.

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