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Article posted May 14 2014, 4:28 PM Category: Tyranny/Police State Source: TheNewspaper Print

California: Court Slams Cops Over Bogus Camera Stop

Female motorist can sue police who held her at gunpoint after automated license plate reader mistakes her Lexus sedan for a stolen pickup.

An innocent woman forced to her knees, held at gunpoint, handcuffed and surrounded by multiple San Francisco, California police officers can proceed with her lawsuit for false arrest. The Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals on Monday ruled that the officers were potentially liable for using excessive force against Denise Green after an automated license plate reader (ALPR or ANPR in Europe) mistakenly flagged her vehicle as stolen. On March 30, 2009, a camera mounted on a police car on Mission Street took a blurry photo of Green's burgundy Lexus ES300 which the automated system confused for a stolen gray GMC pickup truck.

After being alerted to the "hit" over the radio, San Francisco Police Sergeant Ja Han Kim saw Green's car pass by. He neither confirmed the license plate number on the car nor the make and model of the stolen vehicle. Instead, he called for backup and initiated a high-risk felony stop. Green, a 47-year-old black woman, was held for twenty minutes before one of the six officers got around to checking her license plate.

Green sued for false arrest, but a federal district granted the officers immunity. The appellate judges disagreed, finding evidence of negligence. San Francisco Police Department policy recognizes ALPR readings are often faulty. Officers are supposed to verify the vehicle and the license plate before performing any stop. Sergeant Kim thought the camera squad car would have performed the verification, and the camera car driver, Officer Alberto Esparza, thought the arresting officer would be responsible. The department had no clear policy on who had to perform the check.

"Sergeant Kim had several opportunities to confirm the license plate number with dispatch and even spent time stopped behind Green at a red light, and nothing obscured Green's license plate throughout the incident," Judge William K. Sessions III wrote for the appellate panel. "A rational jury could conclude that it was unreasonable for Sergeant Kim to fail to double check the plate number in the absence of express confirmation from Officer Esparza."

The officers had no reason to suspect Green was dangerous, as she was cooperative throughout the entire encounter. The panel held the amount of force used was arguably excessive. The judges ruled that a jury needs to decide whether the city or the officers should be held accountable for their conduct.

The ACLU of Massachusetts Technology for Liberty Project says cases like this will become more common as law enforcement increasingly turns to these systems.

"Using tools like license plate readers and pre-crime 'intelligence-led' policing algorithms, police officers are relying more and more on computers to tell them who is dangerous, who is wanted for crimes, and who is suspect," Kade Crockford, the project's director, wrote regarding the case. "And while police officers can make mistakes on their own, without a helping hand from malfunctioning technological systems, the buck must stop with the officers in the flesh."

A copy of the decision is available in a 170k PDF file at the source link below.

Source: Green v. San Francisco (US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 5/12/2014)

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Comments 1 - 4 of 4 Add Comment Page 1 of 1

Posted: May 15 2014, 3:53 AM

91102 That's an insane "system" they have. Look, in the world of computers and character recognition, we KNOW that no reader is 100% correct, and in the real world (with smudges, maybe mud on plates, etc. or water drops on the lens) even the best are under 98% or so. So that is the reality, and shame on anyone that doesn't know it.
Which MEANS, that of COURSE the one to verify that the recognition correctly read it would be the person HIGHEST UP THE CHAIN. Duh.
It would be moronic to spread to many officers the information, which they of course believe is correct, and expect EVERY ONE of them to follow procedure and double check. You verify the results as HIGH UP the chain as you can before distribution of information (to make sure it is not false) exactly for such situations.
I think she ought to have a great case, because the "system" they employ is non existent (if no one is clear on who should check..ideally ALL should, but if you make it mandatory that the first in line does..before distribution then you can correct fails) and since there is absolutely a failure rate (no matter how small) in the recognition software, always, then it is negligence.

Posted: May 15 2014, 8:48 AM

75145 "Sergeant Kim had several opportunities to confirm the license plate number"

If he has no incentive to avoid mistakes, and he has good opportunity to make the arrest, which scores him points, he would be a fool not to do it even if he knows 100% that this is mistake. If their system does not punish for mistakes, then there's no reason to avoid them.

Posted: May 15 2014, 12:23 PM

68107 you are both right.91102 shows the incompitence of cops.75145shows that it is built in..
Golden Dawn

Posted: May 15 2014, 3:06 PM

17444 Whatever happens at the end of the day the derilict cops will still keep their jobs because that's how the criminal state operates.

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