A Tulsa man wrongly convicted of kidnapping and rape blamed part of his guilty verdict on the way a police officer did his suspect lineup.
News on 6 reporter Jennifer Loren brings us the pros and cons as police use technology to put suspects behind bars. In Arvin McGee's $14-million lawsuit against the city of Tulsa this week he claimed an officer used a photo lineup to single him out as the main suspect.
We wanted to see how these types of lineups work or are supposed to work.You've seen them in the movies, police lineups. But in real life, lineups look different. They're photo lineups, made up of one suspect photo and several random mug shots of people who have been arrested but not neccessarily convicted of any crime.
Tulsa Police Sgt Dave Walker: "Anytime we do a lengthy investigation or any type of investigation that will lead us to a suspect that we believe is the suspect who committed the crime, is when we'd show a photo lineup."
Tulsa Police detectives say photo lineups are standard procedure. But they don't usually start piecing one together until they're almost certain they have the right suspect. "We probably know who did it before we even show the lineup. But ,you know, that's just another piece of the puzzle."
And the process of putting one together is much like a puzzle itself, matching their race, hair color and general features. "The positive is we have, through technology now on the computer, just a wide variety of photos we can choose from." The negative? You can't show a person's height, weight or demeanor, like you can in a real lineup room.
Tulsa Police do have a lineup room. However with all this new technology they say they hardly ever use it. In the occaision a witness can't identify a suspect from a photo, a real lineup is an option, but police say these days if they can't do it from a picture, the case usually goes without an arrest.
So now that you see how its done, you can imagine how easy it would be to make a photo lineup suggestive. Tulsa Police say they take a lot of time putting each one of those lineups together and are always fair to the suspect.