Steve Talley facial recognition wrongful arrest, jailing

Occurred: September 2014

Steve Talley was arrested outside his house in Denver, Colorado, for being a suspect in two armed bank robberies, and for assaulting a police officer during the second robbery. 

Identified using facial recognition technology operated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), friends and his former wife verified that it was Talley in the CCTV footage shared with the police. However, he was able to prove that he was elsewhere at work for the first robbery, and was released after two months in jail.

Following his release, Talley filed a series of complaints with the Denver Police Department, seeking justice for what he alleged was a pattern of misconduct and mistreatment, including being badly beaten up by a group of officers when he had been arrested.

A year later, Talley was again arrested for the second robbery, but the chief witness changed his testimony by saying he did not now think Talley was the robber. The case collapsed, though the charges were never fully dropped.

In 2016, Talley sued the Denver Police Department, the FBI, and the city, receiving a USD 50,000 settlement.

Operator: Denver Police Department; Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Developer: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

Country: USA

Sector: Govt - police

Purpose: Strengthen law enforcement

Technology: Facial recognition
Issue: Accuracy/reliability

Transparency: Governance; Black box

Legal, regulatory 👩🏼‍⚖️

Research, advocacy 🧮