Three-quarters of young black males now listed in database, report says
Police in Britain are regularly arresting people just to get their DNA samples into the country’s massive biometric database, says a new report from a British government watchdog.
The report (PDF) from the Human Genetics Commission also says race is a factor in the arrests: While about eight percent of the British population is now listed on the DNA database, more than three-quarters of young black males, aged 18 to 35, are listed.
The Times of London reports that commission chairman Jonathan Montgomery said “there was some evidence that people were arrested to retain the DNA information even though they might not have been arrested in other circumstance[s].”
Britain’s Labour Party government has been persistently attacked by civil rights groups for creating what has now become the world’s largest DNA database. Under the rules of the database, police can keep DNA samples taken from arrested individuals on file forever. The person does not need to be charged or convicted of any crime for their DNA to remain on file.
The Guardian reports that the discrepancy in figures for minorities particularly troubled the commission:
The commission says the policy of routinely adding the DNA profiles of all those arrested has led to a highly disproportionate impact on different ethnic groups and the stigmatization of young black men, with the danger of their being seen as “an ‘alien wedge’ of criminality”.
The report says there is very little concrete evidence on the importance of the DNA match in leading to a conviction and whether the suspect would have been identified by other means anyway.ADVERTISEMENT
It argues the database creates “pre-suspects” who are the first to be checked whenever a new crime is entered. This leads to a “no smoke without fire” culture that may be pervasive and hard to overcome.
According to the Times, the reported crime rate in Britain has been falling since 2004, but during that time arrests have been increasing at a rate of four to six percent per year. The Nature magazine blog reports that there are nearly six million people on Britain’s DNA database, out of a total population of 62 million. Of those, 980,000 are estimated to have never been charged with a crime.
Last year, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Britain’s DNA database was illegal because it kept innocent people’s biometric records on file indefinitely. The British government has now proposed a change that would see innocent people’s DNA taken off the database after six years.
But that doesn’t go far enough for the country’s opposition Conservative Party, which stands a good chance of forming government after the next election and says it wants to reduce the DNA database so that innocent people’s DNA isn’t kept on file at all, except in cases where the person was accused of violent or sexual offenses, reports the Nature magazine blog.
Angry Minnesota farmer bashes ‘insulting’ Trump comments that ‘we’re great patriots’ during his trade war
President Donald Trump has insulted at least one Minnesota farmer by his claim that farmers are "great patriots" who want him to continue his trade fight against China.
"This wound is self-inflicted, by our president," said Gary Wertish, who is the Minnesota Farm Bureau president. "We definitely agreed with it in the beginning. But it doesn’t appear that there’s a plan B. Some of the callous comments come, especially from the president, you know, that farmers are 'winning,' we’re 'great patriots,' that’s very insulting. That’s coming from someone who never has faced the challenges of a family farmer. I go into the bank and tell the lender I can’t make the payment because we lost our market? The banker is going to tell me you don’t have to make your payment because you’re a patriot."
MSNBC pundit nails Trump for only attacking Black voices on Fox News
Democratic strategist Joel Payne called out President Donald Trump Sunday for his attacks on Fox News when he was leaving New Jersey.
Before Trump landed in Marine One at Morristown, New Jersey, he tweeted an attack on Juan Williams, the only Black pundit on the Fox News show "The Five."
Trump briefly addressed Williams, before he told members of the press that he found it appalling Fox News hired a friend of Hillary Clinton's, whose name he couldn't even remember.
Missouri official choose Dr. Seuss’ ‘Oh the Places You’ll Go’ for swearing-in ceremony instead of ‘The Bible’
A Missouri county official is being both celebrated and attacked after a decision to forgo The Bible for her swearing-in ceremony and opted for a copy of Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss.
The Friendly Atheist at Patheos captured the story, posting a photo of St. Louis City Councilmember Kelli Dunaway's children holding a copy of the book while she took her oath of office.
This was the scene last week at the STLCO government center. Democrats took back control of the council and @DunawayKelli was sworn in on a copy of “Oh the Places you’ll go” with her children❤️ so proud to be part of #TeamKelli pic.twitter.com/iJ1dxfZ1Zg