All the surveillance footage out in the world today has its advantages. It also has its disadvantages, and when the footage is not clear, it can lead to bad things happening to innocent people.
That is the case for an Arizona man by the name of Michael Lowe who was in the Dallas-Fort Worth airport when a burglary happened in a store in the terminal. Simply due to his resemblance to the perpetrator, Lowe was fingered as the criminal.
DFW police had a surveillance photo of the alleged suspect — which showed a man with a low buzz cut, a blue-navy shirt, and light-colored jeans. DFW police then used surveillance video to track the alleged suspect’s location to the terminal that boarded the same flight as Lowe.
To identify the suspect, a DFW detective obtained a search warrant, which ordered American Airlines to produce any and all recorded travel data for all of the people on Lowe’s flight.
But Lowe’s attorneys said the airline failed to produce “any and all recorded travel data for all individuals,” and instead, provided the DFW detective with only Lowe’s data.
As a result, on June 30, 2020, two arrest warrants were issued for Lowe for felony burglary of a building and misdemeanor criminal mischief, according to court records.
On July 4, 2021, Lowe was on vacation in Tucumcari, New Mexico attending a Fourth of July celebrations, when he encountered police who were searching for someone who had caused a disturbance. When officers ran Lowe’s name and came across the warrants out of Tarrant County, Lowe was arrested.
Lowe was transported to the Quay County, New Mexico Detention Center, where he told authorities he was unaware of the charges and they had the wrong person in jail.
As American Airlines sent only Lowe’s information, and not that of everyone on the flight, Lowe is fighting back.
In the lawsuit, Lowe’s attorneys said, “The terror Mr. Lowe experienced while imprisoned in Quay County for the next 17 days was existential. Placed in a quarantine pod, the facility’s contempt for the health, safety, and well-being of its inmates were immediately obvious, as not a single staff member nor inmate wore a face covering.”
The lawsuit stated that Lowe also had to sleep on a concrete floor, and witness violent confrontations and the unfair treatment of inmates.
The charges were eventually dropped after Lowe’s mug shot was compared to the surveillance footage, but the treatment of Lowe in New Mexico was so vile, that he is not letting the airline off the hook for falsely accusing him of a crime he did not commit.
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