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[CTRL] Fwd: DNA Sample with Every Arrest




From: [email protected]
Subject: [CTRL] Fwd: DNA Sample with Every Arrest
Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 23:51:31 EST
To: [email protected]

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From: [email protected]
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Subject: DNA Sample with Every Arrest
Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 15:57:15 EST
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     "Michael Meyers of the New York Civil Rights Coalition said citizens
nationwide are experiencing a crackdown on civil rights.
     ``I think this is the official ushering in of a George Orwellian society.
We will all be suspects in a matter of years.'' .


NYC Wants DNA in All Arrests

NEW YORK (AP) -- Angering civil libertarians who fear ``1984''-style tactics,
Police Commissioner Howard Safir is suggesting that police take a DNA sample
along with the fingerprints of everyone arrested.

``The innocent have nothing to fear,'' Safir said Monday. ``Only if you are
guilty should you worry about DNA testing.''

But civil rights leaders said even the innocent should worry about the plan,
which some contend amounts to an unreasonable search and seizure in violation
of the Fourth Amendment. The proposal would need approval from the state
Legislature to become reality.

``I think this is the official ushering in of a George Orwellian society in
New York City,'' said Michael Meyers, executive director of the New York Civil
Rights Coalition.

Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's administration has come under fire recently for
cutting City Hall off from virtually all public access and for installing more
security cameras to monitor streets.

Norman Siegel, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said
the DNA proposal is the latest effort by the Giuliani administration to erode
civil rights.

``If someone wants to march and doesn't have a permit, or if someone goes to
the steps of City Hall to read a proclamation, he or she will get arrested,''
Siegel said. ``Under Safir's DNA proposal, the government will obtain their
DNA, and that's a frightening prospect. Why should the government have that
information on that individual?''

Giuliani called opponents of the plan captives of ``old left-wing thinking.''

``The taking of DNA evidence -- from the point of view of anyone but the most
excessive knee-jerk ideologues -- is a very, very helpful thing, it's a good
thing,'' he said. ``DNA can help prove who actually committed violent crime;
it can help prove paternity.''

Under Safir's plan, which he described Monday to students at the Bronx High
School of Science, police would take a swabbing from inside a suspect's cheek
-- a standard method of collecting DNA -- and put test results into a database
for future reference against repeat offenders.

DNA, the unique genetic blueprint of each person, is considered by legal and
forensics experts to be as reliable as fingerprints and far more useful in
identifying culprits of certain crimes.

Safir said a suspect's DNA sample would be destroyed if he were acquitted or
cleared.

Many states allow DNA testing of certain convicts, New York among them. Only
in Louisiana does the testing apply to people under arrest.

Meyers said citizens nationwide are experiencing a crackdown on civil rights.
``We will all be suspects in a matter of years,'' he said.


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