From the Detroit News:
Tlaib: Use only blacks as Detroit’s facial recognition analysts
George Hunter, The Detroit News Published 11:07 p.m. ET Oct. 1, 2019
U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib told Detroit police Chief James Craig he should employ only black people on the department’s facial recognition team because “non-African Americans think African-Americans all look the same.”
The Detroit Democrat made the statement during a tour of the Real Time Crime center, where monitors display live footage from video cameras on traffic lights and in and around businesses.
A day after Tlaib made the comment Monday, her spokesman said she was trying to convey the importance of accurately identifying black suspects in a city with an African American population of about 80%.
Police officials invited Tlaib to the facility inside Public Safety Headquarters to see how Detroit uses facial recognition software, after she criticized the technology in an Aug. 20 tweet. The congresswoman wrote: “@detroitpolice You should probably rethink this whole facial recognition bull—-.”
The tour, which lasted more than an hour, was often tense, with Tlaib and Craig wrangling over how the department uses the software, privacy issues, and concerns that the technology misidentifies a disproportionate number of darker-skinned people. A major point of contention: whether only black civilians should work in the crime center analyzing photos flagged by the software.
“Analysts need to be African Americans, not people that are not,” Tlaib told Craig. “I think non-African Americans think African Americans all look the same.
“I’ve seen it even on the House floor: People calling Elijah Cummings ‘John Lewis,’ and John Lewis ‘Elijah Cummings,’ and they’re totally different people,” Tlaib said, referring to the two longtime Democratic congressmen.
… Craig replied: “I trust people who are trained, regardless of race; regardless of gender. It’s about the training.”
“I know,” Tlaib answered. “But it does make a huge difference with the analysts.”
After the tour, when a reporter asked whether she meant white people weren’t qualified to work in the crime center, Tlaib said: “No, I think there has actually been studies out that it’s hard for — African Americans would identify African Americans, or Latinos, same thing.”
Tlaib then was asked whether that means non-whites should be barred from working as crime analysts in mostly white communities. She replied: “Look it up.” …
Tlaib in July joined Democratic U.S. Reps. Yvette D. Clarke and Ayanna Pressley in filing the “No Biometric Barriers Housing Act of 2019,” which would prohibit the usage of facial recognition technology in most federally funded public housing. …
Shaw said state police train constantly to guard against bias.
“There’s implicit bias in everything we do,” he said. “You just heard it in (Tlaib’s) comments.”
A recent press release from Congressman John Lewis:
REP. JOHN LEWIS ANNOUNCES PLANS TO GROW A BEARD
April 1, 2019 Press Release
WASHINGTON – Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) announced plans on Monday to grow a beard in an attempt to avoid being repeatedly mistaken for Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD).
“Just this weekend, I went to church in Maryland. Someone came up to me and said, ‘Hi, Mr. Cummings! I vote for you all the time,’’’ said Lewis. “I just said thank you. What else could I say? That’s when I decided, I should just grow a beard.”
Rep. Lewis’s announcement comes after years of “baldist” press reports that have confused the two famously clean shaven, African-American members of Congress. Both are outspoken opponents of the administration and have served in the House more than 53 years combined. To make things even more confusing, Rep. Cummings is chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, while Rep. Lewis chairs the Oversight Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee.
But the frequent cases of mistaken identity extend beyond the press to the street, where Rep. Lewis is sometimes confused for his colleague from Baltimore.
“People stop me all the time and tell me they’re from Maryland,” Rep. Lewis added. “I’m John Lewis, from Georgia. Rep. Cummings is a good friend of mine, but we’re not the same person.
“I considered getting a tattoo on the back of my head, just to clear things up. I tried to convince Elijah to get one too, but that didn’t go over so well.
“I guess being mistaken does have its advantages, though,” said Lewis. “Elijah’s younger than me, so I guess being mistaken for him is kind of a compliment. Maybe one day when I have a schedule conflict, I’ll see if he wouldn’t mind sitting in a hearing for me. You think anybody would notice?”