Any decent defense attorney will tell you never to participate in a police lineup. Even though the police claim that you’re helping them identify a suspect, a Black person in a police lineup can be implicated in a crime he didn’t commit. There is an old joke about white people not being able to tell Black people apart, but there is some truth to that.
Some white people really can’t differentiate Black people. For example, my brother was falsely accused of misbehaving in high school because his teacher mistook him for the other Black student in the class. And it ended up in his report card.
Unfortunately, in the criminal justice system, we do look all alike. And prosecutors believe convicting one Black person for the crime is just as good as another. District attorneys don’t care who they pin a crime on; all they care about is getting the paperwork off their table. This situation was brilliantly portrayed in the grim HBO legal drama “The Night of …” which shows how a regular citizen can get caught up in the infernal criminal justice system. It was so depressing; I stopped watching the Emmy-winning drama.
Statistics from the Innocence Project also prove this. More than half (60%) of the 375 exonerees are African American. Most of them (69%) were convicted based on “eyewitness misidentification.”
I discovered how easy this was when I experimented with facial recognition technology after watching an episode of the BBC tech show “Click.” The show profiled a facial recognition website called Pim Eyes. You upload a photo of your face, and the site will locate all similar pictures on the Internet. I uploaded a professional photograph of myself to the site and was surprised to see my face matched with the face of Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.)
At first, I thought this was amusing; then, I realized the danger of this program. What would happen if one of us committed a crime? I could be mistaken for Warnock or vice versa. The possibilities are endless.