Local Police Collect DNA Samples From Crime Victims

by jeeg 27. December 2013 02:42

 

Victims of a crime tell CBS 12 they feel like the Riviera Beach Police Department treated them like the actual criminals.

Three days before Christmas, a single mom with five children says her family's life has been turned upside down.

Why? It’s a family's worst nightmare – they come home, and find out someone broke in, and not just once.

But even worse then feeling like your house was violated, imagine feeling like your own personal, privacy rights were trashed by police.

“It really hurts me,” said Gladys Cameron, “my children, it's terrifying, I'm terrified. I can't sleep at night.”

Cameron is quite apologetic about her house being a mess. But she actually has to pack up and leave because criminals forced the family to relocate.

“I’m scared, for my children's safety as well as mine,” said Cameron. “And I'm ready to just go, it’s too much.”

Thieves broke in and burglarized the Cameron home three times within the past 30 days.

“They trashed everything,” said Cameron, as she walked around the house. “It's just horrible.”

The bad guys stole Christmas presents, her son David's video game console, plus the family's TV sets and electronics.

Each time, the criminals came through David's room, broke the window and went out the kitchen door.

Riviera Beach Police dusted for fingerprints inside the house. Outside, the family also showed investigators footprints and tire marks, where the stolen items were loaded into a vehicle.

The cops even have surveillance video from a neighbor which shows three crooks carrying off the family's belongings.

But its what happened next, that has Gladys and her oldest really feeling like their privacy rights were violated.

“I’m like, what!? DNA really? Swab my mouth, my son's mouth,” recalls Cameron telling police. “And they were like ‘yeah, rule you out as a criminal here’.”

Riviera Beach police told mom and son that they had to collect DNA samples from each of them.

“I felt like they weren't listening to us,” said David, “They were just doing what they wanted to.”

Gladys says police didn't explain why this was necessary, or why only she and David had to consent to such an intrusion, but not the four daughters.

“They were like, ‘you have to take swabs from your mouth, because you're not in the records, or in the system or something,’” David recalls being told by police. “I’m like, ‘I don't understand it.’ But they did it anyway.”

Needless to say, on this holiday, Gladys feels like her family has been violated twice - once by criminals, and then by police.

“I can’t sleep at night, it's horrible,” said Gladys. “It’s really horrible. Nothing is being done.”

Because of the seriousness of this case, CBS 12 reached out to the Riviera Beach Police Department and the Palm Beach Sheriff's Office.

Through phone calls and emails, we requested an on camera interview with the following questions:

Why are DNA samples taken from crime victims?

How does the county's crime lab handle it as evidence, and are privacy rights protected?

When will the DNA sample be removed from evidence or kept records?

The Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office told CBS 12 that its DNA expert is on vacation. No one from Riviera Beach police replied to these requests.

CBS 12 also reached out to the ACLU of Florida for their legal opinion on this.

Here's the email that was sent:

“DNA is not simply a means of identification like a fingerprint—our DNA contains biological and medical information that reveals susceptibility to diseases, family history and ancestry and therefore, taking a person’s DNA, especially without their informed consent, violates the fundamental and constitutionally protected right to privacy.

Given the sensitivity of the information contained in our DNA, we are deeply troubled by the fact that Rivera Beach Police are collecting DNA from people who are the victims of crime, and by the prospect that this police policy will create a permanent criminal database of innocent people, whose very personal information will be stored in a “criminal database” by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.”

 

J. Israel Balderas, CBS


 

Comments

12/28/2013 6:57:55 AM #

pingback

Pingback from vejabrasil.org

Local Police Collect DNA Samples From Crime Victims – Council for …  |  Veja, Brasil

vejabrasil.org |

Comments are closed
Log in