PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - There has been an interesting turn in a Federal Court case involving a man accused of several bank robberies around Portland.
Tyrone Lamont Allen’s mugshot was altered to remove his tattoos. The doctored picture was shown to bank tellers investigators said he robbed from as they worked to identify a suspect in several cases.
Allen’s attorney’s want the mugshots thrown out in his case saying it is fabricated evidence. The U.S. Attorney’s Office argues investigators used a technique to mimic the disguise Allen used during the robberies.
In early April 2017, Portland police were called to four bank robberies on the northeast side the city. The robberies spanned a four-day period. Surveillance pictures were released to the media, showing who they were looking for. Detectives dubbed their suspect as the ‘Foul Mouthed Bandit.’
Court documents reveal detectives were tipped off Allen may be the person they were looking for after someone saw the surveillance pictures on FOX 12.
After Allen was booked, his mugshot was altered to have his tattoos removed.
The altered mugshot was then used in a police lineup to identify in several robberies.
The question now before a Federal Judge is, is this fabricated evidence?
“Should we really rely on this evidence or should we be kind of skeptical?” Tung Yin, a Law Professor at Lewis and Clark College said.
He said the judge will have to weigh a few things one of which is the photo overly suggestive, meaning could it point to a particular person.
“If we have one African American suspect in the picture or the photo array are all white again that is what we call overly suggestive,” Yin said.
The judge in the case has yet to rule on the motion.
Portland police said in an email to FOX 12:
"In this specific circumstance, statements and descriptions from the victims were compared with the information available to the investigators and the decision was made to have the tattoos covered up with “digital makeup” in order to help prevent misidentifying the suspect. No other alterations were made to the structure or appearance of the suspect’s face in regards to the lineup. Again, the bureau does not create suggestive lineups.”
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