In early September, the City Council in Portland, Ore., met virtually to bar the police from using facial recognition. But the law does not prohibit an anti-police activist from using facial recognition against officers.
“I am involved with developing facial recognition to in fact use on Portland police officers, since they are not identifying themselves to the public,” Christopher Howell said during the meeting.
Over the summer, with the city seized by night after night of anarchist violence, leaders of the department had told uniformed officers that they could tape over their name.
Howell plans to use facial recognition to identify officers working the riots, the New York Times reports.
A lawyer for the city clarified said the new law banning police from using facial recognition to fight crime does not prevent Howell from using it against police.
“There’s a lot of excessive force here in Portland,” told the Times. “Knowing who the officers are seems like a baseline.”
Last week Portland required officers working protests to wear a three-digit ID number on their helmets, so they could be identified after an incident.