Man who was wrongly arrested suing Bloomington PD over case of mistaken identity

Twenty-one-year-old Kyleese Perryman says the only crime he's guilty of is being a Black man in America. Along with the ACLU of Minnesota, he's suing Bloomington Police and Hennepin County for their roles in a case of mistaken identity that landed him in jail for a crime he didn't commit.

"I feel like I had to prove my innocence more than they had to prove I was a suspect," said Perryman at a news conference Wednesday.

FOX 9 first told you about Perryman's case back in 2021.

In September of that year, he was arrested and charged with aggravated robbery after a group of girls were attacked and had their purses stolen outside Mall of America. The suspects were later caught on surveillance cameras using the stolen credit cards at a metro-area Walmart.

The initial criminal charges detail that from the footage, analysts with the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Criminal Information and Analysis Unit (CISA) identified one of the suspects.

The unit looks at crime patterns and trends and according to the Sheriff's Office, Hennepin County CISA is available to assist local agencies with developing investigative leads and other forms of assistance in virtually any type of criminal case.

From there, police compared the images with an earlier booking photo of 19-year-old Kylese Perryman, and a KOPS alert was issued for his arrest. He was arrested after being pulled over by Minnesota State Patrol for expired tabs and was charged with felony aggravated robbery.

Criminal charges detail that from the footage, analysts with the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office Criminal Information and Analysis Unit (CISA) identified one of the suspects.

But there were some big problems with that narrative.

Perryman was clocked in at work when the car the two suspects were driving was stolen. And as the Mall of America crimes were taking place, Verizon data proves his cell phone was miles away at home.

Shortly after that, a time-stamped iPhone photo shows Kyleese at a family birthday party in Andover.

"I feel like they looked at me and this other guy and thought they are both African American... instead of doing everything they needed to find out it wasn't me," said Perryman.

The images from Walmart also show a man with no tattoos on his right forearm, but Perryman has two.

The charges were eventually dropped and expunged from his record. According to Perryman's attorney, other suspects were arrested for the crime.

"The idea that law enforcement can arrest someone detain them for days in jail and prosecute them simply because police think they look like the suspect with no other investigation is absolutely appalling," Teresa Nelson, ACLU of MN Legal Director.

It's still unclear exactly how facial recognition technology was used in this case.

In 2021, the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office sent FOX 9 the following statement:

Bloomington PD asked CISA to utilize Investigative Imaging Technology (IIT) on a surveillance video to see if they were able to identify a lead on a possible suspect. The photo from the surveillance video was clear, however not high resolution. CISA was unable to provide a lead using IIT and advised Bloomington PD.

Later that day, the same CISA Analyst was investigating an unrelated/active case. The CISA analyst was reviewing booking photographs and surveillance photographs. Among those booking photographs was that of Kylese Perryman. The Analyst recognized Perryman’s booking photograph and saw that it appeared to resemble the suspect from the surveillance footage in the Bloomington case.  CISA sent Bloomington PD Perryman’s name, date of birth, and booking photo.

Both Bloomington Police and Hennepin County declined to comment on the lawsuit, which seeks an excess of $250,000 in damages.

UPDATE: On June 30 Hennepin County Sheriff's Office sent the following statement:

"Facial recognition technology was not used in the criminal case referenced in the lawsuit by Mr. Perryman. In general, this technology can be used to provide investigative leads, which is ultimately corroborated with other investigative information. Facial recognition is not used by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office as a sole source for positive identification or probable cause to arrest," said Sheriff Dawanna Witt.