from the verification-to-be-performed-at-gunpoint dept
We recently covered a story about a lawyer who found himself approached by cops with guns drawn after an automatic license plate reader misread a single character on his plate as he drove by. The police did make an attempt to verify the plate but were stymied by heavy traffic. Unfortunately, it appears they decided to force the issue rather than let a potential car thief escape across the state line.
As I pointed out then, the increasing reliance on ALPRs, combined with the one-billion-plus records already in storage and the millions being collected every day, means the number of errors will only increase as time goes on -- even as the technology continues to improve. This person was lucky to escape with nothing more than an elevated heart rate. Others won't be so lucky... like Denise Green of San Francisco.
Green's civil rights lawsuit has just been reinstated by Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which overturned an earlier decision that granted summary judgment in favor of the San Francisco Police Department. The lower court found that the officers had made a "good faith, reasonable mistake" when they performed a felony stop of Green, which included being ordered out of her vehicle and onto the ground at gunpoint and held in cuffs for nearly 20 minutes while officers verified the plates and filled out paperwork.
The Appeals Court disagreed with this finding and the opinion details what the SFPD is supposedto do with ALPR "hits" and compares this to what was actually happened.