S.F. police face criticism for using rape kit DNA to identify potential suspects
Updated February 15, 2022 at 10:37 AM ET
San Francisco officials are criticizing the city's police department over what officials say is a newly-discovered practice inside the department of searching a database containing DNA collected from sexual assault victims to identify them as possible criminal suspects.District Attorney Chesa Boudin said using rape kit DNA to search for suspects in separate investigations treats victims "like evidence, not human beings" and called for the practice to end."Rapes and sexual assault are violent, dehumanizing, and traumatic. I am disturbed that victims who have the courage to undergo an invasive examination to help identify their perpetrators are being treated like criminals rather than supported as crime victims," Boudin said in a press release Monday.The American Civil Liberties Union said it was a violation of a sexual assault victim's privacy to use their DNA profile to possibly incriminate them in an unrelated investigation.San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said he has ordered an investigation into the matter, according to The Associated Press."We must never create disincentives for crime victims to cooperate with police, and if it's true that DNA collected from a rape or sexual assault victim has been used by SFPD to identify and apprehend that person as a suspect in another crime, I'm committed to ending the practice," Scott said.A California state senator said he was considering introducing legislation to end the practice statewide.
A version of this story originally appeared in the Morning Edition live blog. Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.