No manual check? They were right there!
“I hope you all don’t think all black men look alike,” Williams said he told officers during his interrogation behind bars. “The computer must have gotten it wrong,” an officer replied, we're told.
Ok, the computer got it wrong. It happens. However, it seems to me that there were a pair of police officers there that could have performed some sort of visual check against an image before arresting the guy.
I do want to take a moment to unpick what "all look alike" really means though... Lets flip the situation first so the usual suspects don't shit their pants over it.
Take a country with a predominantly black population with a significant white minority.... say south Africa. Lets say the criminal in the cctv is a white man, and a couple of black police come to my door.
Are they there because they're racist? Maybe, maybe not... The fact that they have identified a man eliminates half of the population. The fact that they have identified a man of the correct age bracket eliminates roughly another 75% of what remained. The fact that they identified a white man eliminates probably about 90% of whatever is left.
We've got quite specific quite quickly in that while that description may match 3% of the population, both I and the actual criminal are definitely in that 3%. Likely the computer has narrowed it further, to similar build or facial shape for instance, but there's no evidence of that available.
It should absolutely not be enough to arrest someone for without manually checking the pictures because it could be transparently obvious it isn't me just from a glance, and I have every right to expect them to perform the check before taking further action. They do, however, have every right to come to my door to do the check.
"When I look at the picture of the guy, I just see a big Black guy. I don't see a resemblance. I don't think he looks like me at all," Williams told NPR.
Regrettably, if the Shaggy defence worked then the prisons would be empty.