US: Baltimore high school athletic director arrested for allegedly creating deepfake racist audio of principal  

Man arrested for creating deepfake audio of principal in US schools
Man arrested for creating deepfake audio of principal. Photo Courtesy: Dazhon Leslie Darien Facebook page

A US high school athletic director was arrested recently for allegedly using artificial intelligence to impersonate his principal making racist comments.

The arrested person was identified as 31-year-old Dazhon Darien.

He is accused of creating the fake video of Pikesville High School Principal Eric Eiswert.

Eiswert was placed on leave and had police outside his home amid death threats he received over the fake clip, reported BBC.

According to reports, Dazhon Darien was arrested on Thursday (April 25, 2024) while he was trying to board a plane.

Media reports also claimed he was detained at the airport after a security check over a gun in his bag found an arrest warrant against him.

He faces charges of stalking, theft, disruption of school operations and retaliation against a witness, BBC reported.

County Executive Johnny Olszewski said at a press conference as quoted by the New York Post: “From the very beginning, we have expressed our concern about the disturbing audio that shook our communities here in Baltimore County. That’s because those words go against everything we stand for.”

“Hate has no place and no home in Baltimore County. Nor should it have any place across our state or here in our country,” Olszewski said.

In a statement released by Baltimore county public schools following Darien’s arrest, superintendent Myriam Rogers said: “I am writing to provide an important update on the Pikesville High School investigation. This morning, Baltimore County Police officers arrested Dazhon Darien, the Pikesville High School athletic director, on multiple charges stemming from an investigation the Baltimore County Police Department launched in reference to the January 17, 2024, release of an audio recording allegedly of Principal Eric Eiswert.”

“When we were made aware of the recording, we immediately launched an investigation and solicited the help of the county executive, Baltimore County police, and additional external experts. Baltimore County Police enlisted the services of the Federal Bureau of Investigations. We collaborated with these partners because they have the resources and skill to determine the authenticity of the recording, and they have verified that Mr. Darien used artificial intelligence to create the audio recording,” read the statement.

“This has been a difficult time for the Pikesville High School community, Principal Eiswert and his family, and Team BCPS. We are proud of the students and staff and how they have stepped up to support one another,” the statement said.

Darien was also charged with theft, retaliating against a witness and stalking, media reports said.

He was released on a $5,000 bond from the Baltimore County Detention Center, reported The Baltimore Sun.

What is AI?

As per IBM website, Artificial intelligence, or AI, is technology that enables computers and machines to simulate human-like intelligence and problem-solving capabilities.

Deepfake AI is a type used for artificial intelligence that can be implemented to create convincing images, audio and video hoaxes.