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The case of the missing tattoos: Altered photo lineup by Portland police draws objection

There’s no mistaking the elaborate tattoos that cover Tyrone Lamont Allen’s forehead and right cheek.

But when Portland police suspected Allen was involved in four bank and credit union heists, and none of the tellers reported seeing tattoos on the face of the man who robbed them, police digitally altered Allen’s mugshot.

They covered up every one of his tattoos using Photoshop.

“I basically painted over the tattoos,’’ police forensic criminalist Mark Weber testified. “Almost like applying electronic makeup.’’

Police then presented the altered image of Allen with photos of five similar-looking men to the tellers for identification. They didn’t tell anyone that they’d changed Allen’s photo.

Some of the tellers picked out Allen.

The practice came under fire this week in a federal courtroom in Portland as Allen’s attorney argued that the manipulation allowed police to “rig the outcome” of the photo lineup…

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Copyright 2019 John B. Wells