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Why Are Police in San Diego Illegally Collecting Black Kids’ DNA?

By Victor Trammell

The ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties has filed a lawsuit on behalf of several black families whose children were unlawfully violated by the San Diego Police Department.

According to a recent report on the website of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), black minors have suffered gross infringements on their civil rights due to highly questionable practices, which have been exercised by the San Diego Police Department. The recent EFF report on the ACLU lawsuit and civil rights case partially reads as follows:

“According to the ACLU’s complaint, on March 30, 2016, police officers stopped five African-American minors as they were walking through a park in southeast San Diego. There was no legal basis for the stop. As an officer admitted at a hearing in June 2016, they stopped the boys simply because they were black and wearing blue on what the officers believed to be a gang ‘holiday.’

Despite having no valid basis for the stop, and having determined that none of the boys had any gang affiliation or criminal record, the 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—P.D., a plaintiff in the ACLU’s case. (It’s standard to use minors’ initials, rather than their full names, in court documents.) The officers found an unloaded revolver, which was lawfully registered to the father of one of the boys, and arrested P.D.

The officers told the other four boys that they could go free after submitting to a mouth swab. The officers had them sign a consent form, by which they ‘voluntarily’ agreed to provide their DNA to the police for inclusion in SDPD’s local DNA database. The officers then swabbed their cheeks and let them go.'” (EFF.ORG)

One of the main problems with the criminal investigation policy of the San Diego Police Department is that it does not require officers to get consent from parents in order to take DNA samples from minors. In addition to damages, the ACLU is demanding that the San Diego Police Department destroys the DNA samples of the five minor black  males who have been named as plaintiffs in this lawsuit.

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