Incident 245: Unverified Misreading by Automated Plate Reader Led to Traffic Stop and Restraint of an Innocent Person at Gunpoint in California

Description: In San Francisco, an automated license plate reader (ALPR) camera misread a number as belonging to a stolen vehicle having the wrong make, but its photo was not visually confirmed by the police due to poor quality and allegedly despite multiple chances prior to making a traffic stop, causing an innocent person to be pulled over at gunpoint and restrained in handcuffed.


New ReportNew ReportNew ResponseNew ResponseDiscoverDiscoverView HistoryView History
Alleged: unknown developed an AI system deployed by San Francisco Police Department, which harmed Denise Green.

Incident Stats

Incident ID
Report Count
Incident Date
Khoa Lam
Another Bogus Hit From A License Plate Reader Results In Another Citizen Surrounded By Cops With Guns Out · 2014

We recently covered a story about a lawyer who found himself approached by cops with guns drawn after an automatic license plate reader misread a single character on his plate as he drove by. The police did make an attempt to verify the pla…


A "variant" is an incident that shares the same causative factors, produces similar harms, and involves the same intelligent systems as a known AI incident. Rather than index variants as entirely separate incidents, we list variations of incidents under the first similar incident submitted to the database. Unlike other submission types to the incident database, variants are not required to have reporting in evidence external to the Incident Database. Learn more from the research paper.