A man charged with robbery in Oregon is trying to dismiss his case after police admitted to photoshopping the mugshot used by witnesses to identify him.
Tyrone Lamont Allen, 50, was arrested after Police released a surveillance image of the robber – dubbed “the Foul Mouth Bandit” – after four banks were hit over a four day period in April 2017.
An anonymous tipster then contacted police to say he believed Mr Allen was the hat-wearing man seen in the photo.
The edited image was discovered by Mr Allen’s lawyer last month, who argued that it was done by police in order to make his client more closely resemble the suspect.
Prosecutors contended the suspect’s “immutable facial features” resembled Mr Allen’s closely enough for him to be included in the photo line-up with five other men.
Assistant US Attorney Paul Maloney argued that Mr Allen could have applied cosmetics prior to the crime spree, and told the court that investigators “applied the digital equivalent of makeup” to the picture.
“The whole idea was to make Mr Allen blend in so his photo wouldn’t stand out,” he said. “These procedures were prudent. They were appropriate.”
In a hearing on Wednesday, Portland Police Detective Brett Hawkinson testified the point of altering the photo was to “mask things that would stand out” to witnesses.
US District Judge Marco A Hernandez has said he will soon issue a ruling on the admissibility of the photo.
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