"Michigan resident Robert Williams... is suing the Detroit Police Department for wrongfully arresting and jailing him based on faulty facial recognition technology," the ACLU said in a statement.
The lawsuit, which argues that Williams’ Fourth Amendment rights were violated, seeks damages and policy changes to stop the abuse of facial recognition technology, the release added.
"I came home from work and was arrested in my driveway in front of my wife and daughters, who watched in tears, because a computer made an error," defendant Robert Williams said as quoted in the release.
Williams added that he wanted "to make sure this painful experience never happens to anyone else."
Police fed a blurry image from a store surveillance camera into a facial recognition program, which wrongly identified Williams as a shoplifter, the release said. Police held Williams for 30 hours in a filthy Detroit detention center where he was forced to sleep on a raised cement slab due to overcrowding, it added.
The lawsuit cites studies showing that facial recognition technology is poor at accurately identifying Black people, especially in cases like Williams’ when the photo is grainy, the lighting is poor, and the suspect is not looking directly at the camera, the release said.
The University of Michigan Law School joined the ACLU in filing the federal lawsuit on behalf of Williams.
Several US cities have banned police from using the technology as not only inaccurate, but racially biased as well, according to the release.