MSNBC’s Ari Melber explains why DNA collection is a civil rights issue

By Eric W. Dolan
Sunday, June 16, 2013 13:33 EDT
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MSNBC host Ari Melber screenshot
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MSNBC host Ari Melber on Sunday warned that collecting the DNA samples of every arrested individual would have a disproportionately negative impact on African Americans.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court affirmed Maryland’s policy of collecting DNA profiles of those arrested for serious crimes.

“Now, DNA databases and crime tracking may sound like a far-away fantasy out of Minority Report, but the future here’s,” Melber remarked. “Twenty-nine states already take DNA samples of suspects for certain crimes. Now, I’m not talking about convicted felons… I’m talking about how the police treat the rest of us.”

The state and federal laws allow police to collect DNA profiles of anyone detained by police, not just those convicted of a crime, he explained. Due to the fact that African Americans are disproportionally detained by police, Melber said “the very first national database of DNA will be of Black America.”

Quoting conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who sided with the liberals on the court, the MSNBC host claimed “small government” Republicans should be just as concerned as liberals and libertarians.

“Here’s a rule of thumb, since many policymakers and pundits don’t yet grasp that DNA is a civil rights issue: In a justice system where the majority of official practices have a discriminatory impact, just about anything that system touches will become a civil rights issue,” he concluded.

Watch video, courtesy of MSNBC, below:

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Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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