The Detroit Police are using facial recognition software to identify criminals. Tlaib believes that the facial recognition teams need to be black, because as she puts it “non-African Americans think African-Americans all look the same.” The Detroit Police Chief James Craig does not agree and finds her comment racist and insulting. Freshman Dem Rashida Tlaib thinks that her past comment against the Detriot Police Department was warranted. She thinks calling her statement racist is short-sided as she believes their facial technology is flawed.
Tlaib tried to defend her racially charged comment.
“My comments weren’t racist, out of order, or “inappropriate.” It is inappropriate to implement a broken, flawed and racist technology that doesn’t recognize black and brown faces in a city that is over 80% black.
I’m not going to mince words when my residents are threatened. The Detroit News should not take Detroit Police Chief James Craig’s bait and help him to distract from the fact that broken technology is being used to lock up black and brown people in Detroit….”
“Craig’s department spent millions of dollars on a system that is flawed and jeopardizes our civil liberties, and it was implemented it with no public input. Calling out racism isn’t racist — but this technology is.”
Police Chief also weighed in.
“The fact that she made that statement, what does that say to the members of this department who are analysts, who are trained, who are white? That they in some way can’t do their job professionally? That’s insulting,” he said. “But here’s what is troubling: As a police chief who happens to be African-American in this city, if I made a similar statement, people would be calling for my resignation right now.”
“It’s our analysts who go through with tremendous rigor and identify the most probable suspect, if at all,” he continued. “It’s not the technology — it’s the people behind the technology. If we just relied solely on the technology and we went to the top match, we would misidentify probably as much as 95% of the time.”
The Police Chief even clarified that the tech is just a starting point. It is not the sole way criminals are being identified. Her statement is racist. Black people do not all look alike. Officers trained to distinguish features in faced are going to see the many differences between the faces regardless of their background.