San Diego Police Faces Lawsuit Over Unlawful DNA Collection, Targeting Black Children
Feb 16, 2017 07:56 AM EST
A lawsuit was filed on the San Diego Police Department over power abuse and for allegedly targeting black children for unlawful DNA collection. The ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties (ACLU) filed the lawsuit on behalf of one of the families affected.
The lawsuit urges San Diego police to stop its discriminatory abuse of DNA collection technology, specifically targeting the black children. The complaint also highlights the severe threats of granting law enforcement access to DNA, which includes the breach of an individual's civil liberties, civil rights and privacy.
According to the ACLU's complaint reported by the Voice of San Diego, police officers stopped five African American minors as they were walking through a park in southeast San Diego, on Mar. 30, 2016. One of the officers, who later admitted that there was no legal basis for the stop at a hearing in June 2016, said that they stopped the boys simply because they were black and wearing blue on what the officers believed to be a gang "holiday".
Having determined that none of the boys had any gang affiliation or criminal record, the San Diego officers handcuffed at least some of the boys and searched all of their pockets. They found nothing but still proceeded to search the bag of one of the boys until the officers found an unloaded revolver, which was lawfully registered to the father of one of the boys.
The officers had them sign a consent form, by which they "voluntarily" agreed to provide their DNA to the police for inclusion in San Diego Department's local DNA database. One of the boys, nicknamed as P.D. was then told to sign the form and was transported to the police department.
The San Diego District Attorney filed numerous charges against P.D., but they were all dropped as having no basis for a stop. However, the court did not order the police to destroy P.D.'s DNA sample or the DNA profile generated via his sample. The ACLU seeks destruction of the sample and profile, along with a permanent injunction "forbidding officers from obtaining DNA from minors without a judicial order, warrant, or parental consent".
The complaint's allegations regarding San Diego police's coercive tactics to collect DNA from these children are deeply troubling. But what's even uglier is that the collection here was racially motivated, according to EFF.
While it looks like law enforcement believes these databases will help them diminish crimes, its underlying efforts to target African American minors for inclusion in San Diego's local DNA database is too evident to not to be taken notice of. It goes back to the biased assumption that these children are criminals, and that they either have or will in the future commit some crime. So per the ACLU's allegations, the San Diego Police Department is not only abusing its power, but it's doing so in a racially discriminatory way.