Because of a bad facial recognition match and other hidden technology, Randal Reid spent nearly a week in jail, falsely accused of stealing purses in a state he said he had never even visited.
On the Friday afternoon after Thanksgiving, Randal Quran Reid was driving his white Jeep to his mother’s home outside Atlanta when he was pulled over on a busy highway. A police officer approached his vehicle and asked for his driver’s license. Mr. Reid had left it at home, but he volunteered his name. After asking Mr. Reid if he had any weapons, the officer told him to step out of the Jeep and handcuffed him with the help of two other officers who had arrived.
“What did I do?” Mr. Reid asked. The officer said he had two theft warrants out of Baton Rouge and Jefferson Parish, a district on the outskirts of New Orleans. Mr. Reid was confused; he said he had never been to Louisiana.
Mr. Reid, a transportation analyst, was booked at the DeKalb County jail, to await extradition from Georgia to Louisiana. It took days to find out exactly what he was accused of: using stolen credit cards to buy designer purses.
“I’m locked up for something I have no clue about,” Mr. Reid, 29, said.
His parents made phone calls, hired lawyers and spent thousands of dollars to figure out why the police thought he was responsible for the crime, eventually discovering it was because Mr. Reid bore a resemblance to a suspect who had been recorded by a surveillance camera. The case eventually fell apart and the warrants were recalled, but only after Mr. Reid spent six days in jail and missed a week of work.