Denver to pay $3.76m to innocent woman whose house its police raided based on Find My data

An elderly woman will be paid a huge sum after police raided her home looking for stolen goods on the say-so of Apple's Find My system.

1 minute & 46 seconds read time

Apple's Find My network is pretty great when you lose your iPhone, AirPods, or if you have an AirTag, just about anything. But the network isn't perfect and that's what police in Denver found out when they raided the wrong person's home on the hunt for stolen gear. Now, that woman will be paid $3.76 million in compensation.

The woman, 78-year-old Ruby Johnson, will receive the money after police damaged and ransacked her Denver home with Apple's Find My app being the only source of information used ahead of the raid. The decision to award the money comes after a Colorado jury awarded the cash after she complained of severe physical and emotional distress.

Denver to pay $3.76m to innocent woman whose house its police raided based on Find My data 01

The case saw two police officers sued as individuals but it's Denver that will stump up the cash despite finding that there were no policy violations and that there was no need for any disciplinary action. Both of the officers still work with the city.

The whole thing went down in 2022 when a SWAT team entered Ms. Johnson's home based on location data from an iPhone that was thought to be there. Hover, it's argued that the police officers did not fully understand the technology in use. The elderly woman was detained in her bathrobe for hours, CNN reports, while a search was carried out.

The iPhone that the police were trying to track down was thought to have been in a truck that had been stolen, but despite police believing that the Find My data showed it was in the woman's home, it most certainly was not. The stolen truck was thought to also contain four semi-automatic handguns, a tactical military-style rifle, a revolver, two drones, $4,000.00 in cash, and an old iPhone 11. It was the location of that iPhone 11 that police then used as the basis for their ill-fated search.

However, the area in which the Find My network showed the iPhone to be wasn't specific, with CNN reporting that it covered a general area that covered six different properties. The lawsuit made against the officers points out that there was no reason to believe the iPhone was in the woman's home rather than any of those properties that surrounded it.

Apple's Find My network can be extremely accurate, but when it's unable to be it draws a circle around the area in which a device or Find My-powered accessory may be. That's what happened in this case and it's clear that the police officers involved did not understand that. Now, they've cost their employer a fortune as a result.

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Based in the UK, Oliver has been writing about technology, entertainment, and games for more than a decade. If there's something with a battery or a plug, he's interested. After spending too much money building gaming PCs, Oliver switched to Apple and the Mac - and now spends too much on those instead.

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