When the Detroit Police Department called Robert Williams, he thought it was a prank.
The voice on the other end of the line told Williams to turn himself in at the DPD’s Third Precinct. Why? The cop wouldn’t say.
“I can’t turn myself in if you can’t tell me,” Williams recalls saying. “I said, ‘If you want me, you can come to my house and bring a warrant.'”
But it was late in his work day, and Williams was disturbed enough to head home, calling his wife, Melissa, as he drove. When she answered, the cops were already there.
What Williams didn’t know on that day back in January is that he had been misidentified by the Detroit Police Department’s controversial facial recognition technology as a shoplifter who allegedly stole five watches from Midtown’s trendy Shinola store in October 2018, making him the first person known to have been arrested