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Man faces charges after Alexa allegedly calls the sheriff

Technology is changing how cases are handled in court. With emails, text messages and even products like Amazon’s Alexa, which is hooked up to continuous Wi-Fi, there are more chances than ever to collect evidence against a person or to prove someone’s innocence.

That’s important to this case, which highlights the changing technology kept in people’s homes. Although this incident didn’t happen locally, it drew media attention for its unusual nature. According to the July 10 report, an Amazon smart speaker called the police on a man who is now accused of domestic violence.

The report states that the man had said, “did you call the sheriff?” to his girlfriend. Alexa heard the man say, “call the sheriff,” which prompted the technology to call 911. The deputies went to the scene of the attack where the 28-year-old man is accused of hitting his girlfriend in the face with a gun. He is also accused of kicking her in the face and stomach after shoving her to the floor.

What happened when the deputies arrived was a long, six-hour standoff, their reports show. The man was arrested and has now been charged with false imprisonment, aggravated battery on a household member and other crimes. The woman and her child were able to escape upon the deputies’ arrival, but the man would not leave the house. The SWAT team arrested him several hours later and booked him into jail. Some reports state that Amazon has not given Alexa the ability to call 911 in the manner above, so it’s still not clear how it worked in this case.

Source: Albuquerque Journal, “BCSO: Amazon smart speaker calls 911 on domestic violence suspect,” Elise Kaplan, July 10, 2017

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