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A Black woman spent a week in jail because police said she resembled a woman caught shoplifting in Texas. In an egregious case of mistaken identity, Julie Hudson was detained after inquiring why an employer’s background check showed she had an arrest warrant.

The 31-year-old Philadelphia woman, a Ph.D. student, was detained because another Black woman with the same name had a bench warrant in Texas. The other Julie Hudson is a suspect in a shoplifting case.

The Webster police claim their agency was not the only organization to make the error. According to Jeremy Edge, assistant chief of the Webster Texas Police Department, “It looked to multiple people [like her], not just within our agency, but also within the district attorney’s office.”

Meanwhile, the innocent Julie Hudson is confused, angry, and scared. “When you know that you didn’t do anything wrong, it makes you feel crazy,” she said in an interview.

Hudson was released on Wednesday, after a Harris County district attorney dropped the charges. Philadelphia PD were only made aware of the decision to drop the charges after receiving a media inquiry. 

Family alerts media after mistaken identity

However, the Philadelphia PD is investigating the lack of communication between the organizations. The radio silence led to Hudson spending a week in a Philadelphia detention center.

Upon learning of Hudson’s ordeal, her family reached out to the Harris County district attorney — and the media. According to a spokesperson for the Harris County District Attorney’s office, “We dismissed the case within five minutes and immediately contacted Philadelphia Police to release our hold on Ms. Hudson.”

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner noted his office did not receive any information about the mistaken identity case. “What happened to her should not have happened, and her family deserves a great deal of credit for successfully advocating for her freedom with the media in Houston and in Philadelphia.” 

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...

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