A Philadelphia woman who claims she has never been to Texas was imprisoned for nearly a week for a crime that was committed there after Houston-area police wrongly believed she was the same person who had been caught on camera shoplifting from a nearby sporting goods store.
Julie Hudson, 31, was held on January 5 after visiting a police station in Philadelphia to find out why background checks conducted by prospective employers were incorrectly listing her as having a criminal record.
She was detained on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by Webster, Texas, police after they recognized her as their suspect — also going by the name Julie Hudson — based on images she had shared online.
According to Jeremy Edge, assistant chief of the Webster Police Department, “It looked to several people [like her], not just within our agency but even within the district attorney’s office.”
Edge claimed that a Black lady with the same name as the one in the surveillance video was identified as being by a woman police spoke to as being her sister.
After being freed late Wednesday night, a day after the charges were dropped by Harris County prosecutors, Hudson, a Ph.D. student, told a local Philadelphia NBC affiliate WCAU, “When you know that you didn’t do anything wrong, it makes you feel crazy.”
A Philadelphia Police Department representative told Insider that the department was only made aware of the dismissal of the warrant on Wednesday night “after receiving a media inquiry.” The spokeswoman stated that the department is currently looking into if and when Texas authorities informed their Pennsylvanian counterparts of that.
In a statement on Thursday, Philadelphia’s district attorney Larry Krasner said that it doesn’t seem like Texas authorities have gotten in touch with his office regarding the issue.
Her family deserves a lot of credit for successfully arguing for her liberation with the media in Houston and Philadelphia, he added. “What happened to her should not have happened,” he said.
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