A Black woman in Philadelphia spent almost a week in jail because Texas police thought she looked like a shoplifter. But she had never been to Texas.

  • A 31-year-old PhD student in Philadelphia was detained on January 6 for a crime she did not commit.

  • Julie Hudson was arrested based on a warrant issued by police outside Houston, Texas.

  • Police falsely concluded that she looked like a woman in a surveillance video.

A Philadelphia woman who says she has never been to Texas spent nearly a week behind bars for a crime that was committed there after police outside Houston falsely concluded that she was the same person who was captured in surveillance video shoplifting at a local sporting goods store.

Julie Hudson, 31, was detained on January 5 after she went to a police station in Philadelphia to inquire why potential employers' background checks were inaccurately reporting that she had a criminal record.

She was held based on an arrest warrant sought by police in Webster, Texas, who had identified her as their suspect — also named Julie Hudson — based on photos she had posted online.

"It looked to multiple people [like her], not just within our agency, but also within the district attorney's office," Jeremy Edge, assistant chief of the Webster Police Department, told a local NBC affiliate KPRC in Houston.

Edge said that a woman police interviewed had identified the person on surveillance video as her sister, another Black woman police say has the same name.

"When you know that you didn't do anything wrong, it makes you feel crazy," Hudson, a PhD student, told local Philadelphia NBC affiliate WCAU after being released late Wednesday night — a day after the charges were withdrawn by prosecutors in Harris County.

A spokesperson for the Philadelphia Police Department told Insider that it was only made aware of the warrant being dismissed on Wednesday evening "after receiving a media inquiry." The department is currently investigating if and when Texas authorities themselves communicated that to their Pennsylvania counterparts, the spokesperson added.

Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner, in a statement on Thursday, said that no Texas authorities appear to have contacted his office about the case.

"What happened to her should not have happened, and her family deserves a great deal of credit for successfully advocating for her freedom with the media in Houston and in Philadelphia," he said.

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