OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma City police officer attempting to help a gunshot victim made a startling discovery using facial recognition software.
Investigators said the man was mysteriously dropped off at the hospital Monday evening with a gunshot would to his leg.
He identified himself as ‘Brandon’ and told an officer on site to take his statement that he was shot while running SW 77th Place, but did not know who shot at him or why.
The officer asked the man to confirm his name and birthday; an incident report showed the officer then ran the information through JailTracker for “positive identification” and realized that the picture in the system did not match the man’s physical appearance.
“When we checked to see who he was, it turned out he was not who he claimed to be,” said MSgt. Gary Knight, Oklahoma City Police Department.
“They were checking him in our computer to get the rest of his information w they noticed that the person he [was] claiming to be [was] different than the person he really is. In other words, he’s giving them false information about his identity,” he added.
The report shows the officer then ran a picture he’d taken of the patient through facial recognition in JailTracker and received a 95% match.
The man’s name was not Brandon at all, but Brent Watson, with a long list of criminal convictions and a recent felony warrant.
“He had a felony warrant and he just simply didn’t want to go to jail. It’s not unusual for people to lie to police about their identity, it’s usually someone who’s under arrest at that point trying to evade capture, [but] this was somebody who was wanting to make a police report as a victim and filed charges against someone else,” Knight continued.
Watson was treated at the hospital and then arrested and booked into Oklahoma County jail.
KFOR discussed right to privacy with attorney Tony Coleman.
“We got someone who obviously had felony warrants out for them, who obviously was being less than honest with the police when given an opportunity to do so because he wanted to continue to evade capture. And so you’ve got very strong arguments on both sides. But when we understand the right to privacy, as it was intended by the Fourth Amendment, we have to understand first and foremost, what is the expectation here,” he said.
Coleman said on the one hand, while one might be concerned because it seems like it’s invasive or it seems like it’s an unfair advantage for law enforcement, there’s no expectation of privacy.
“There is an expectation of privacy within our own homes and one would even argue inside of our automobiles. But the very moment that we exit either either one of those, our expectation of privacy is diminished substantially,” he added.
“[Police] didn’t violate anything by obtaining these photographs, and they simply ran them through some technology that they have,” Coleman continued. “They know what the Fourth Amendment requires and they know the steps that they must go to in order to gain access to things.”
“If you have the slightest bit of ill intent in your conduct and behavior, you must always assume that somebody is watching.”
Watson now faces a number of charges including giving false information, impersonation, failure to appear and larceny.