Last year we noticed a case in which Portland Police Photoshop'd a suspect's picture to make him look more like the bank robber described by witnesses (https://copblaster.com/blast/2234/police-photoshopped-photo-lineup-to-remove-tattoos-witnesses-forgot). We didn't keep a close eye on the case, but today noticed that United States District Judge Marco Hernandez ruled in favor of the practice.
The case involved alleged serial bank robber Tyrone Allen. Allen was accused of robbing banks, but the witnesses from the banks described a suspect without tattoos. So, Portland Police detectives Photoshop'd Allen's mugshot to make it look like he had no tattoos when in fact his face and head were covered in them. Prosecutor Paul Maloney argued that the police were merely trying to counteract Allen's efforts to disguise his identity. A ridiculous claim since having tattoos usually makes people easier to identify. Hernandez ruled that this practice is not unnecessarily suggestive.
Witnesses claimed that the robber may have been wearing makeup, so the police said they wanted to be able to show people pictures of what Allen would look like without tattoos or with flesh colored makeup covering the tattoos. Keep in mind that none of the witnesses were sure he was wearing makeup. So, according to Hernandez it is not unnecessarily suggestive to alter an mugshot to make a suspect look like he is wearing makeup if someone thinks he may have been wearing makeup. By that logic anyone looking for the Joker could alter anyone's mugshot to look like they are wearing clown makeup and ask people if that is the guy.