Detroit Mom Sues City After Wrongful Arrest While Eight Months Pregnant
Porcha Woodruff claims she was falsely arrested for carjacking and robbery in Detroit while she was eight months pregnant.
Now, the 32-year-old mother is suing the city over the faulty facial recognition technology that led police to her door on the morning of Feb. 16.
Woodruff was getting her children ready for school when six officers arrived at her doorsteps. She thought it was a joke when she was presented an arrest warrant for carjacking and robbery – especially considering she was pregnant at the time.
Officers arrested Woodruff even though her fiancé pleaded with them.
“My two children had to witness their mother being arrested,” Woodruff told The Associated Press. “They stood there crying as I was brought away.”
Woodruff was allegedly implicated as a suspect after the victim, who was robbed at gunpoint on Jan. 29, of the crimes saw a photo lineup. Her photo was used when police deployed facial recognition technology.
The victim identified her from a lineup of six women, according to the lawsuit. After that, the detective on the case showed the victim a photo of Woodruff from a 2015 arrest, although the agency had a current photo of her driver’s license.
The victim also never identified the suspect as a pregnant woman, claims the suit.
Woodruff was arraigned on the charges and given a $100,000 personal bond. She arrived at the detention center in Detroit around 8:20 a.m. and was released around 7 p.m.; she was told not to leave the state.
According to the lawsuit, Woodruff’s fiancé took her to the hospital once she was released. She had a low heart rate due to dehydration and stress caused contractions.
During the preliminary examination on March 6, the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office dismissed the case due to insufficient evidence. The police eventually recognized their mistake, but it left a lasting impact on Woodruff and her family.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan, Woodruff’s case is the third allegation of false arrest due to facial recognition technology in Detroit and sixth in the nation. In each case of mistaken identity, the victims were Black.