Banjo CEO Damien Patton has stepped down from his position at the company, according to a press release by the company on Saturday, May 9. Banjo CTO Justin R. Lindsey will replace Patton as CEO. Patton is no longer an employee at Banjo, nor is he on the company’s board, the company told the Deseret News.
In late April, OneZero reported that Patton, who founded Banjo in 2010, had former ties to the Dixie Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and had participated in a nonfatal shooting of a synagogue in his youth.
CEO of Surveillance Firm Banjo Once Helped KKK Leader Shoot Up a Synagogue
Documents reveal Damien Patton, CEO of SoftBank-backed Banjo, admitted to being a Neo-Nazi skinhead in his youth
The revelation led to the suspension and cancellation of many of Banjo’s contracts. Banjo had at least two significant contracts in the state of Utah: a $20.7 million contract with the Department of Public Safety and a $750,000 contract with the Office of the Attorney General to provide real-time monitoring of CCTV footage and social media.
Banjo sells “live-time intelligence,” which analyzes large swaths of data from sources that include public social media accounts and CCTV surveillance cameras to detect events as they occur. The company has pitched its services to media organizations and law enforcement agencies as a tool to monitor everything from drug hot spots to riots to protests, according to a Vice investigation.
Within days of OneZero’s investigation, the Utah Department of Public Safety terminated its contract with Banjo, according to a document acquired by OneZero through public records requests.
The attorney general’s office also told OneZero that it was suspending use of the company’s product until a third-party audit into potential bias in its software was complete. State Auditor John Dougall will be performing the audit, according to the Deseret News. In response, Banjo itself decided to suspend all Utah contracts.
“To run a criminal check we have to have a reason.”