Add dog-walking to the laundry list of things you can’t do while Black.
On May 16, 55-year-old Ike Iloputaife took his two Borzoi dogs for a 90-minute stroll in his San Diego’s Vista neighborhood, and several days later, he was considered a suspect in a nearby burglary, according to The San Diego Union Tribune.
The sheriff’s department obtained surveillance photos that captured Iloputaife walking his dogs that day, and of course because he’s Black, he was immediately investigated and his photo was released to the press. It didn’t help that a woman who lived near the crime scene corroborated the false accusation when she shared a photo she took of Iloputaife saying he was a “stranger” on her street.
Ultimately, it was three other Black men who burglarized the home. The only characteristic they had in common with Iloputaife was skin color.
Thankfully, some of Iloputaife’s neighbors and his husband, Jim Watson, defended him as a well-known presence in the area. But unfortunately, false identifications are not rare. In fact, they’re the leading cause of wrongful convictions says Justin Brooks, director of the California Innocence Project at California Western School of Law in San Diego.
“When you look at the studies, we are absolutely terrible at identifying humans who are not of our own race,” he said to the Tribune. “Sometimes we make mistakes and those kinds of mistakes can devastate people’s lives and leave their reputation in tatters.
Iloputaife, who has dual U.S. and French citizenship, is seeking an apology from the deputies and says the experience has made him consider moving back to France.