Incident 429: Unreliable ShotSpotter Audio Convicted Black Rochester Man of Shooting Police

Description: ShotSpotter's "unreliable" audio was used as scientific evidence to accuse and convict a Black man of attempting to shoot Rochester's city police, whose conviction was later reversed by a county judge.


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Alleged: ShotSpotter developed an AI system deployed by Rochester Police Department, which harmed Silvon Simmons.

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Khoa Lam
Is shot spotter reliable enough? Critics question human equation behind technology · 2017

For Rochester police, the gunfire detection system known as ShotSpotter has been a valuable tool, alerting them to possible shootings and speeding up the police response time.

But, more than that, the system — which tries to locate gunfire …

Judge tosses conviction of man accused of shooting at cop · 2018

In a courtroom full of blue, with dozens of uniformed Rochester police officers watching, a judge Thursday reversed the criminal conviction of a man once accused of attempting to murder a city police officer.

County Court Judge Christopher …

A cop shoots a Black man and a city resumes battle with police union · 2020

By the time Officer Joseph Ferrigno shot a Black man from behind, court records show, the Rochester cop had drawn at least 23 misconduct complaints in nearly nine years on the force.

One came from a woman who said Ferrigno, a burly hockey p…

Key findings from series on Silvon Simmons, who was shot by Rochester police · 2020

ROCHESTER, NY — The man who was shot by a Rochester police officer in 2016 in what police alleged was a gunfire exchange, is now the subject of a three-part investigative series.

Reuters published a three-part narrative on the April 2016 sh…


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.