According to court documents, a woman from Detroit is suing the city and a police detective after she was falsely arrested while eight months pregnant due to facial recognition technology.
On the morning of February 16, while preparing her two children for school, Porcha Woodruff, 32, was confronted by six police officers with an arrest warrant for larceny and carjacking.
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Given that she was noticeably pregnant, Woodruff initially thought the officers were joking. She was brought into custody after being arrested.
The name is Porcha Woodruff. The Law Firm of Ivan L. Land, P.C.
“Ms. Woodruff later discovered that she was implicated as a suspect through a photo lineup shown to the victim of the robbery and carjacking, following an unreliable facial recognition match,” according to court documents.
The victim told police that he met a woman with whom he had carnal relations on January 29. According to the lawsuit, they went to a BP filling station where the woman “interacted with multiple individuals.”
The suspects then left for another location, where the victim was robbed and carjacked at gunpoint by a man with whom the victim had previously interacted at the BP filling station. Two days later, the victim reported that his phone was returned to the petrol station.
The lawsuit, which was filed on Thursday in the Eastern District of Michigan, names Detective LaShauntia Oliver, who was assigned to the case, as a defendant.
Oliver, upon learning that a woman had returned the victim’s phone to the gas station, allegedly ran facial recognition software on the video footage to identify Woodruff as the woman.
“Detective Oliver detailed in her report what she observed on the video footage, but made no mention that the female suspect was pregnant,” the lawsuit states.
According to court documents, when a man was arrested on February 2 while driving the victim’s car, Oliver neglected to show the suspect a photo of Woodruff.
The victim also identified Woodruff as the woman he was with during the robbery after viewing a lineup of potential suspects. According to the lawsuit, Oliver used an eight-year-old photo of Woodruff from an arrest in 2015, despite having access to her current driver’s license.
According to the lawsuit, on the day Woodruff was arrested, she and her fiance implored officers to check the warrant to confirm if the woman who committed the crime was pregnant, but they refused.
Woodruff was released from the Detroit Detention Center at approximately 7:00 p.m. on a $100,000 personal surety after being charged with robbery and carjacking.
Following her release, her fiance took her to a medical facility, where she was diagnosed with a low pulse rate due to dehydration and told she was experiencing contractions due to stress related to the incident.
According to the lawsuit, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the case against Woodruff on March 6 due to “insufficient evidence.”
Chief James E. White of Detroit told NBC News he examined the lawsuit’s allegations, which he called “very concerning.”
“We are taking this matter very seriously, but cannot comment further at this time due to the need for additional investigation,” he said in a statement. “We will provide additional information once we obtain additional facts and have a better understanding of the situation.”
Oliver did not respond to comment requests.