Police Chief Pushes Back On Tlaib’s Statement That Only Black People Should Be Facial Recognition Analysts
When Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib said recently that only black people should be hired as facial recognition analysts, Detroit Police Chief James Craig was appalled.
Tlaib made these statements at the Detroit Police Department’s Real Time Crime Center on Monday, where the department uses facial recognition technology to try to find suspects. There, Craig was demonstrating to Tlaib how the system works. The department invited Tlaib to visit after she tweeted them, calling facial recognition technology “bull**.”
U.S. Rep. Tlaib told Detroit's top cop he should employ only black analysts to the department's facial recognition team because "non-African Americans think African-Americans all look the same."— WXYZ Detroit (@wxyzdetroit) October 3, 2019
Chief James Craig called her remark racist. @MattSmithWXYZ https://t.co/eK4lloSz6e pic.twitter.com/l0itvVOJPL
“Analysts need to be African-Americans, not people that are not,” Tlaib said. “It’s true, I think non-African-Americans think African-Americans all look the same!”
Tlaib also said that “the error rate among African-Americans, especially women,” was 60 percent in terms of confusing different people.
Craig refuted Tlaib’s claims during an interview on Fox & Friends Thursday.
“It’s a software. It’s biometrics,” Craig said. “And, to put race in it … we’re talking about trained professionals. My staff goes through intense training with the FBI, and so they’re not looking at race but it’s measurements. We were appalled when she made this statement.”
“We even put her in the seat of an analyst so she could understand how it works!” Craig explained. “And, she was somewhat resistant. Not really interested. But, it was important for me to invite her in after she made her initial comments. So, at least she could learn something about how we use it and maybe have a great appreciation for it.”
The Detroit News, who covered Tlaib’s tour of the department, asked Tlaib after she said only black people should be hired to use the software, “Are you saying white people are not qualified to–?”
“No, I think there’s actually been studies out that it’s hard for, you know, like African-Americans would identify African-Americans, similar, Latino same thing,” Tlaib responded.
“This is a double standard,” Craig said Thursday. “If I had made the exact same comment, they would’ve been calling for my resignation and she would have been leading that charge. That’s a fact.”
Chief Craig comes out swinging at vile & vulgar human being Tlaib, as well he should.— Joe Dolio (@DolioJ) October 3, 2019
The DPD, which is predominantly black, fights a battle every day for the safety of a majority black city, and for her to inject her racist views is disgusting. https://t.co/TaGoO7YJ0f
“We know [there are] flaws in the technology,” he continued. “We’ve addressed that through the rigorous system that we have in place. So, we have a modeled approach on how we use this technology very effectively.”
Don’t expect the police chief’s words or invitation to have any affect on Rep. Tlaib, as it sounds like she already had her mind made up before she got there.