A man is suing NBC Universal after he says MSNBC misidentified him as a criminal on one of its programs, allegedly causing him public humiliation, crying spells and loss of employment income.
During an episode of “Caught on Camera: Dash Cam Diaries on MSNBC, a man who had reportedly stolen a limousine was arrested by police officers after he was hit with a stun gun in the back of the stolen vehicle.
The man’s name is Todd Keith. He was later convicted of receiving stolen property, resisting arrest and destruction of property. However, MSNBC identified Keith Todd — a construction worker from Michigan — as the perpetrator instead. His name and picture were shown on the national reality TV show.
From left, Keith Todd is suing NBC Universal, Eastpointe Police Department and A One Limousine after a photo of him was incorrectly aired with his name nationwide on reality-TV crime show 'Caught on Camera: Dash Cam Diaries,' multiple times in the past year, according to the complaint. The actual perpetrator was Todd Keith (right) and Keith was later convicted of receiving stolen property, resisting arrest and destruction of property. (Source: Detroit Free Press)
The Detroit Free Press outlines how the incident unfolded:
The video came from an October 2009 Eastpointe case in which Keith, now 35, was at a gas station with a stolen limousine when its owner, John Gambino with A One Limousine, spotted him. In the dash-cam footage, officers arrive at the gas station to see Keith and Gambino struggling; Keith wriggles out of his shirt and runs to a nearby McDonald’s.
Police pursue Keith, who breaks through a plate-glass window in the restaurant and returns to the limo. But he can’t get the door closed before several officers reach him and zap him.
Todd, 32, has filed suit against NBC Universal, the Eastpointe Police Department and A One Limousine in Wayne County Circuit Court. In the compliant, Todd claims the police “incorrectly researched” databases and sent the network the wrong photo and name.
Further, MSNBC and the limo company “failed to exercise reasonable and proper care” verifying the identifying information, the lawsuit alleges.
“There doesn’t seem to be a lot of quality control. Nobody bothered to take a close look and confirm it was the right person,” Todd’s lawyer, Jonathan Browning, said.
The show aired on MSNBC in November and January. The network pulled the episode and scrubbed it from its website after Todd asked for a retraction, a request the network fulfilled.
“The man previously named and shown had no relation to the crime. We regret the error,” MSNBC said at the time.
Though Browning said they haven't determined how much they anticipate receiving in the lawsuit on "defamation, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and negligence, the suit is in the category of exceeding $25,000, the report adds.