NEW ORLEANS – The ACLU of Louisiana today condemned the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) after an investigation by The Lens revealed that the department had been secretly employing facial recognition technology through “state and federal partners,” while denying its use to the public and the city council.  

These revelations come after years of assurances from city officials that facial recognition was not used in New Orleans. Just last week, the ACLU of Louisiana sent NOPD a public-records request on the issue of facial recognition. The Department responded that “The Police Department does not employ facial recognition software.” 

“These are stunning and disturbing revelations that demand an immediate investigation and response from NOPD and Mayor Cantrell’s administration,” said Alanah Odoms Hebert, ACLU of Louisiana executive director. “Studies have shown and recent experience proves that facial recognition technology is dangerous, racially biased, and ineffective at combating crime. In addition, NOPD’s brazen dishonesty is a violation of the public trust that further undermines its credibility. We demand an independent investigation into why NOPD misled the public and how facial recognition was used, and the immediate halt to all use of this technology.”