Brickbats

Brickbat: A Picture Tells a Thousand Words

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Police in Portland, Ore., received tips that Tyrone Lamont Allen was the man who committed robberies of four banks and credit unions. One problem. Allen's forehead and right cheek have fairly large tattoos. No witnesses described the robber having tattoos. The solution? Cops used Photoshop to remove Allen's tattoos from photos they showed to witnesses in a lineup. Some of those witnesses, looking at the altered photos, picked Allen out of the lineup as the robber. Cops didn't tell Allen's defense attorney what they did. He only found out because he noticed the altered photo in material prosecutors gave him. He has asked the court to throw out those witnesses IDs.

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  1. I am making 10,000 Dollar at home own laptop .Just do work online 4 to 6 hour proparly . so i make my family happy and u can do

    …….. Read More

    1. I hope this work isn’t proofreading. You’re damn near illiterate, buddy.

      1. I’m not sure leaving $10K in the hands of someone who would pay him to proofread is a better situation.

      2. u can do!

  2. Can prosecutors sink any lower?

    1. Yes, yes they can, Give them time.

  3. When I first saw the two photos I thought the story was going to be that people ID’d the wrong guy – and there was another guy who looked just like the wrongly ID’d guy.

    I thought, wow, those two guys really look alike. No wonder they thought it was the same guy…..

    Yeah, shoulda been more cynical…..

    1. When I looked at the photos before reading; I thought man I must be a racist because all black men look alike.

      1. I read the city was portland and assumed they were photo shopping prison lineup photos to remove tattoos similar to san fransisco “justice involved” replacement of felon. That must start next year.

  4. Cops and D.A ‘ s. will lie, cheat and steal to further their ends. And I bet nothing happens to the guilty parties in this ,hell, any case, These actions should be felonies.

  5. Ahlemeyer, on cross-examination, asked if any of the protocols instruct police that they can alter someone’s photo.

    Hawkinson said no, but quickly added nothing tells police that they can’t change an image either. He said he learned of the practice through “on the job training’’ and from police supervisors.

    For law enforcement, internal policies and procedures are everything. Until they’re not.

    1. “…but quickly added nothing tells police that they can’t change an image either.”

      Qualified immunity. Case dismissed.

      1. I’d love to see this excuse used more often…
        “There’s nothing in the secret service handbook about not blowing thousands on hookers on blow. I learned this through on the job training.”
        “There’s nothing in the IRS handbook about not targeting organizations based on their political view… This was learned through on the job training.”
        “There’s nothing in DOJ policy saying you can’t sell weapons to mexican drug cartels with no plan to track or recover them. This was a brilliant plan made by my colleague, and we all thought it was the absolute tits, so…”

    2. There’s no rule saying a dog can’t play basketball.

      1. And since we’re not capable of independent thought, we need specific rules for every possible situations. Our brains can’t handle extrapolating principles to unforeseen circumstances.

      2. I have an idea to improve ratings for the WNBA. Is there a rule that says the player’s can’t play naked? Use body paint for team names/numbers.

    3. I could see the photoshop to remove tattoos if you want to use it as a dummy photo. “We need 29 mug shots of generic black men in their 30s”.

      However, to use an altered photo in actual identification is coerced perjury. The officers need to be disciplined, and the prosecutor needs to explain themselves to the bar.

  6. What we need here is common sense computer controls.

  7. I hope this work isn’t proofreading. You’re damn near illiterate, buddy. 9xmovies

    1. Whatcha think about that Inigo? It told you.

      1. LOL – I was going to make a snarky comment about how the photos don’t matter because the cops arrested the guy and what more proof do you need that the guy’s guilty? but damn, who can top Entertainment’s comment? Close the thread, close the blog – when the bots start flaming each other, there’s no place for us here any more.

        1. I was going to flag them for review, but the responses make them useful. Don’t know whether to be annoyed or amused.

  8. Not the point of the article, i know, but i think ive read that tattoos can be hidden with makeup. Ive also heard that it is possible to change the color of ones hair.

    1. If the police want to argue that he used makeup to hide his tattoos, then they should make that argument, not imply it in the line-up photos.

  9. Allen, 50, was charged in the four bank and credit union robberies, all occurring within a four-day period in early April 2017.

    Not exactly sure the cops are entirely to blame here; do we have evidence or suggestion that the tattoos predate the crime?

    1. “Everybody who commits a crime and gets a tattoo before getting apprehended gets away with it.” seems like a rather obviously flawed policy.

      Not saying the guy did it nor that Cops/DA’s aren’t scumbags but it wouldn’t be the first time this week, maybe even today, that Reason’s overtly omitted crucial details to fit their narrative.

      1. Wouldn’t surprise me if the cops did it wholly of their own volition. Wouldn’t surprise me if a witness who had previously provided a description to a sketch artist said, “That looks like him except he didn’t have the facial tattoos at the time, can you show me a depiction without them?” and Reason just chose to omit that or parrot the half-truth.

        1. Have you ever gotten a tattoo? You don’t tattoo half your face like that in one sitting. The whole top of his head is tattooed also. You don’t wake up one day and go ‘this year my resolution is to scribble on my whole face and head with permanent maker’.

          1. Have you ever gotten a tattoo?

            Would it count if I gave someone a tattoo with a paperclip and ballpoint pen?

            It’s all outline work with no fill. I’m not saying it’s what this guy did, but if you told me a story about an felon who got away with a crime and got all kinds of facial tattoos professionally done to avoid getting ID’ed, that’s what I would expect it to look like.

            Again, less an indictment of this guy and more of Reason, “Tattoos ergo innocent.” isn’t the same case as something like “Sitting in a jail cell while his supposed victim was murdered.”

    2. Journalists are pretty infamous for leaving out important timeline information.

      That said, I was able to find a different article that says he was arrested in May 2017, one month after the robberies. If he got the tattoos after the robberies, they would still have been healing in that booking photo.

      And again, the fact that the police didn’t note or document that they altered the photos is the big problem. If they want to argue that he hid his tattoos, or he got the tattoos after the crime, then they should have to actually argue that, not just hide it until a lawyer notices.

      1. “And again, the fact that the police didn’t note or document that they altered the photos is the big problem. If they want to argue that he hid his tattoos, or he got the tattoos after the crime, then they should have to actually argue that, not just hide it until a lawyer notices.”

        Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner. Even on the most generous reading of the events, the police and prosecutors (to the extent they knew) were way out of line.

      2. That said, I was able to find a different article that says he was arrested in May 2017, one month after the robberies. If he got the tattoos after the robberies, they would still have been healing in that booking photo.

        Agreed. My understanding of the timeline was that the robberies happened in 2017 and he was just recently booked.

        And again, the fact that the police didn’t note or document that they altered the photos is the big problem. If they want to argue that he hid his tattoos, or he got the tattoos after the crime, then they should have to actually argue that, not just hide it until a lawyer notices.

        Half my point is that it’s the defense is supposed to be on this and it’s the DA who’s supposed to disclose this, no? Wouldn’t the police notifying the defense of such an issue be a procedural no-no?

        1. Half my point is that it’s the defense is supposed to be on this and it’s the DA who’s supposed to disclose this, no?

          Seeing as the cops didn’t tell the DA or document, anywhere, that they did this, the DA would have had to find out the same way the defense attorney did: by noticing that the line-up photo looked wrong.

          So no. Entirely the police’s fault. Even if you can defend the line-up Photoshop, they should have documented that they did it.

          1. Seeing as the cops didn’t tell the DA or document, anywhere, that they did this, the DA would have had to find out the same way the defense attorney did:

            Reading a more accurate and complete article at somewhere besides Reason Magazine it would seem.

    3. The defense team did their job, noted the discrepancy in the submitted photo used to identify the defendant and raised the issue of its obvious modification. As far as we know, there was no attempt by the prosecutor to suppress the photo, so there was no prosecutorial misconduct.

      The police are currently allowed to use modified lineup photos, precisely because the defendant’s appearance may have changed significantly (facial hair, haircut, tattoos, etc.) since the alleged crime was committed. As long as the photo is made available to the defense team, so that both sides can argue the point of the defendants appearance, then the police did nothing wrong. They don’t currently have to disclose that they presented a modified photo so long as the photo itself is disclosed, along with other evidence, to the defense team. We have an adversarial system where the police work on behalf of the “people”, otherwise known as the public prosecutor, not the defense team.

      It’s also very unlikely that the defendant was charged solely on the basis of witness identification using that doctored photo. We already know “tips” were provided and (with just 30 seconds of googling) there is clearly other evidence pointing to the defendant. Most importantly, the article leaves out important details: did the court ultimately make a decision?

      As it turns out, the real issues are more complicated and involve a request by the defense to throw out the photos and witness identification on the basis that digital modification invalidates the photo as evidence. The defense is arguing that the lack of police notes on modification reasoning, along with details regarding the modifications (something not currently required) handicap the defense and that the process of modification is intended by the police to obfuscate/generalize the physical appearance of the subject, making it “easier” to obtain (a potentially false) positive identification.

      The court, in this case the US District Court of Oregon, Judge Marco Hernandez presiding, is evaluating these issues and will provide a written ruling, one which will likely lead to some fairly interesting legal fall-out, regardless of which way he rules. I’m generally a fan of Reason, but they really missed the interesting and important story in favor of a narrative that amounts to rage/click-bait. This isn’t a case of police or prosecutor misconduct, it’s an interesting technical case regarding digital manipulation of photos (and possibly other visual evidence) for purposes of identification, made possible by modern technology, and what limits may be needed to prevent abuse of such tools by police and prosecutors. Judge Hernandez is in the position of making a critically important ruling with wide reaching impact, and Reason chose to present an article that frames the story as “dumb police photochop black guy… lolz”.

      As for Mr. Tyrone Lamont Allen, he’s still in a heap of trouble because the prosecution apparently has images/video of him from bank surveillance cameras. Images, I might add, that don’t appear to show any signs of facial tattooing.

      1. “As for Mr. Tyrone Lamont Allen, he’s still in a heap of trouble because the prosecution apparently has images/video of him from bank surveillance cameras. Images, I might add, that don’t appear to show any signs of facial tattooing.”

        No, the prosecutors have images/video of a man, who apparently doesn’t have a visible facial tattooing, from bank surveillance cameras. You are just assuming it’s the same person.

  10. Cops are such bad people, they have such low character.

  11. So they looked at his pic without tats and still picked him with tats? Seems like witnesses didn’t remember his tatoos but remembered him.

    1. No, the witnesses described someone who didn’t have tattoos, so the police photoshopped the tattoos off of his face and asked if that was the guy they had seen.

    2. They don’t use a physical lineup much anymore, but an array of photographs. This makes it easier to get people matching the general description.

      If someone says that it the crime was committed by a large black man, and you have a physical lineup of one large black man and four scrawny guys of other races (because that’s all you have in the drunk tank), you get a positive ID just by elimination. By having pictures of 30 large black men, you get a lot fewer false positives, and it’s a more defensible for the prosecution.

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