Baltimore high school athletic director used AI to fake racist audio of principal: police

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Police arrested a Baltimore high school athletic director Thursday after they said they discovered he allegedly used artificial intelligence to create a fake audio recording of the school's principal that went viral and the school. The chief lost his job and his security temporarily.

Principal Eric Eisworth was removed from his position at Pikesville High School after the school district launched an investigation in January into staff and an audio clip circulating on social media that appeared to show Eisworth harassing black and Jewish people. made racist comments against, investigators allege.

According to Baltimore Police Chief Robert McCullough, a three-month investigation, which involved local police and the FBI, concluded that the audio was faked by the school's athletic director, Dezon Darien, using AI tools. .

“Detectives allege that Mr. Darien made the recordings … to retaliate against the principal who had opened an investigation into possible misuse of school funds,” McCullough told reporters at a news conference Thursday. “

The situation began on Jan. 16, when a recording of what appeared to be a conversation between Eisworth and an assistant principal first circulated, according to charging documents.

In the audio, Sworth allegedly claimed that black students were unable to “check their way out of the paper bag” and made comments about the Jewish men and two teachers, the charging document said. insulting comments”.

Investigators said the audio has “profound implications” for Eisworth and the school community.

“This not only led to Aysworth's temporary removal, but also triggered a wave of hateful messages on social media and numerous calls to the school,” the charging document said.

As school officials began investigating the incident, Sworth maintained that the conversation on the audio never happened and told investigators that Darren, 31, may have been involved because of technology, according to the charging document. It was good together.

Sworth ordered an investigation into Darien in December for alleged misuse of school funds, the charging document said.

Darren was one of three teachers who first received audio from a mysterious email, which read the charging document. One of the other teachers told investigators she forwarded the message to a Pikesville High student “whom she knew would quickly spread the message around various social media outlets,” according to charging documents. will”.

The unidentified teacher also sent the audio to several media outlets and groups, including the NAACP, investigators said.

The teacher initially withheld information from investigators that indicated Darien was one of the original recipients of the message, the charging document said.

When Darien was questioned by investigators, he claimed he did not know who the person was who sent him the audio, according to investigators. However, investigators were able to determine that the email address sending the audio was registered to Darien, the charging document said.

The Baltimore Police Department provided the audio to two forensic analysts who specialize in AI and determined that the recording contained elements of AI-generated content, according to the charging document.

Detectives allege that Darien used their big language models, such as OpenAI and Bing Chat, to create the recordings. The charging document claims Darien has a paid OpenAI account, which gives users more features than the free version.

He was arrested Thursday morning at Thurgood Marshall Airport as he tried to board a flight to Houston and charged with several felony charges, including disrupting school operations, according to police and charging documents. And the chase involved.

Investigators said Darien tried to declare the gun at the airport and that triggered a security check that revealed an arrest warrant issued last night.

The investigation is ongoing.

Darien was released Thursday afternoon on a $5,000 unsecured bond. Information on an attorney for the defendant was not immediately available.

Baltimore County Schools Superintendent Miriam Rogers told reporters that an administrative process has begun to discipline Darien, which she said could lead to his termination.

He added that the school is also investigating other teachers who were involved in spreading the audio.

For now, interim leaders will serve the remainder of the school year at Pikesville High School while the investigation continues, Rogers said.

“We will be working closely with Principal Aysworth and the Pikesville community regarding next year,” he said.

“We are grateful that we can bring some sense of closure to the community and now we can focus on moving forward and providing a fresh start for all parties involved,” Rogers added.

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