A man says artificial intelligence and facial recognition software wrongly identified him for the Sunglass Hut robbery
said a 61-year-old man who lives in California He was wrongly accused From stealing a Singlas Hut In Texas, he was arrested and subsequently sexually assaulted by inmates Facial recognition software He falsely identified him as the suspect.
On Jan. 22, 2022, two armed men allegedly threatened a store manager and an associate and stole thousands of dollars in cash and merchandise from Sunglass Hut in Houston, according to a lawsuit filed Jan. 18 in Harris County District Courts.
The lawsuit alleges that one of the men demanded all the money in the store while the other took as many sunglasses as he could. The manager and his assistant were then forced to sit in the back of the store while the robbers fled.
The lawsuit accuses the head of loss prevention at EssilorLuxottica, Sunglass Hut’s parent company, of using artificial intelligence and facial recognition software to identify Harvey Murphy Jr. as the suspect. It says the two companies “compared grainy security footage” to photos taken by Murphy in the 1980s when he was convicted of non-violent robberies.
But at the exact time of the robbery at the Sunglass Hut, Murphy was 2,000 miles away in Sacramento, California, where he lived, the suit says.
The charges were eventually dropped, but the damage had already been done.
“Mr. Murphy’s story is troubling to every citizen of this country,” Murphy’s attorney, Daniel Dutko, said in a statement. statement. “Anyone could be incorrectly accused of a crime based on error-prone facial recognition software, just as he was.”
Houston police were investigating the theft, the suit says. Investigators spoke to store employees, reviewed surveillance video, and found footage of the getaway car with stolen license plates, according to the lawsuit.
While investigators were working to find the suspects, the head of EssilorLuxottica’s loss prevention department contacted management and said police “could stop their investigation because their man had been found,” the lawsuit alleges.
“He stated that he worked alongside Macy’s Loss Prevention to determine that the person who violently robbed the Sunglass Hut was Harvey Murphy Jr.,” the suit says. “Using artificial intelligence and facial recognition software, EssilorLuxottica and Macy’s captured video of the robbery and determined that Murphy was the robber.”
The head of loss prevention also told police that Murphy had previously robbed the store as well as a Macy’s store in Houston, according to the lawsuit.
Houston police returned to the store to conduct a suspicious photo lineup with the manager and assistant, but EssilorLuxottica allegedly refused to let the manager participate, the suit says.
The lawsuit accuses EssilorLuxottica of setting up the store’s associate, and says she “was willing to identify Murphy as the thief.”
An arrest warrant has been issued for Murphy.
He was detained after returning to Texas to renew his Texas driver’s license, the lawsuit says. The Houston Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
While in prison, the suit says Murphy was “beaten, gang-raped and left with permanent and lifelong injuries.”
“A few hours before Murphy was released from prison, three violent criminals followed him into the bathroom,” the suit says. “He was beaten, thrown to the ground and brutally raped.”
After the attack, an inmate threatened Murphy and told him not to tell anyone, according to the lawsuit.
“Murphy was released a few hours later, but in some ways, he never left prison,” the suit says. “His time in prison will stay with him forever. Not an hour goes by without Murphy reliving the brutal attack and rape. Worse still, the attack left him with permanent injuries that he will have to live with every day of his life. This all happened to Murphy because the defendants relied on identification technology The face is known to be error-prone and defective.
Murphy’s lawsuit names EssilorLuxottica and Macy’s as defendants. Macy’s declined to comment, and EssilorLuxottica could not be reached Thursday.
He is suing for negligence, malicious prosecution, false imprisonment and gross negligence, and is seeking $10 million.