Chief Craig calls Rep. Tlaib's remark on facial recognition 'racist'

Posted at 11:15 PM, Oct 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-03 06:10:21-04

(WXYZ) — U.S. Representative Rashida Tlaib told Detroit's top cop he should employ only black analysts to the department's facial recognition team because "non-African Americans think African-Americans all look the same."

Chief James Craig blasted those comments by Tlaib in an interview with 7 Action News.

"If I had made a similar comment people would be outraged," said Detroit Police Chief James Craig. "They would be calling for my resignation."

Congresswoman Tlaib was escorted on a tour of the Real Time Crime center inside DPD Headquarters when she made the controversial comment.

On Wednesday, she told 7 Action News she stands by her words.

"Facial recognition technology, or call it 'software,' is racist itself," Tlaib said.

She has been an outspoken critic of the software. She wrote on Twitter on Aug. 20, "@detroit police you should probably rethink this whole facial recognition bull----."

RELATED: Detroit police board votes to approve DPD's use of facial recognition technology

Tlaib said research shows analysts using the technology more accurately identify members of their own race.

Chief Craig said her remarks were insensitive and members of the force are troubled and outraged.

RELATED: New rules over facial recognition approved, but distrust and confusion remain

"I had a conversation with Union Vice President Ron Thomas who is infuriated," Craig said. "He said we would rather she fight for us to get us more money or more jobs, and he said their support for her is in question at this point."

Tlaib said her colleagues on both sides of the aisle in Washington are concerned about the technology and how it can misidentify people, especially people of color.