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US Government Kicks Off Controversial DNA Collection Program

This is the first attempt to collect DNA of individuals who are detained but not charged with a crime.




DNA Collection Program
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(TMU) — On January 3, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released a Privacy Impact Assessment detailing plans to collect DNA from individuals temporarily detained at border crossings.

Border Patrol launched the 90 day pilot program on Monday at the Canadian border near Detroit and at the official port of entry at Eagle Pass, Texas. After the pilot period the program will be expanded nationwide.

According to the Privacy Impact Assessment, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) Laboratory provides DNA collection kits which allow authorities to take a cheek swab and send the DNA samples to the FBI. CBP and ICE have already had the legal authority to collect DNA from detained persons since the passage of the DNA Fingerprint Act of 2005. However, while previous efforts to collect DNA have focused exclusively on foreign citizens, this is the first attempt to collect DNA of individuals who are detained but not charged with a crime.

The Assessment states:

Effective January 6, 2020, CBP will begin collecting DNA from any person in CBP custody who is subject to fingerprinting. This will include aliens as well as United States citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (U.S. Persons). As with all other DNA samples that federal law enforcement agencies collect under the authority of the DNA Fingerprint Act, CBP will send DNA samples from its DNA population13 to the FBI, which will enter results into CODIS.

The authorized method of DNA sample collection from non-convicts in federal custody, such as those detained for some administrative immigration violations, is by buccal (cheek) swab. Using DNA sample kits provided by the FBI, CBP agents and officers will collect a DNA sample by taking a cheek swab from every individual within scope of the new regulation and submit the DNA samples to the FBI for processing and entry in the CODIS (Combined DNA Index System) system.”

The assessment clearly outlines the groups who will be affected by the DNA collection program once fully implemented. This includes criminal arrestees—including U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and aliens—all non-U.S. Persons detained for processing under administrative proceedings and released on their own recognizance; all non-U.S. Persons who are detained for processing under administrative proceedings and voluntary withdraw application; all non-U.S. Persons subject to expedited removal, reinstatement of removal, or administrative removal; and all voluntary returns.

Stephen Kang, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, told the New York Times that the new DNA collection procedures “raises a lot of very serious, practical concerns, I think, and real questions about coercion.”

The assessment pays lip service to examining privacy risks but offers no real solutions. The federal agencies’ main concerns seem to be that people are not aware they have no choice when it comes to handing over their DNA. For example, the DHS worries that “individuals in federal custody will not be aware they must provide a DNA sample to law enforcement officers.” In fact, another privacy risk plainly states that “DNA collection requires no consent and is not voluntary.”

The section titled “Mitigation” states:

This risk cannot be mitigated. If individuals refuse to provide a DNA sample (i.e., are not compliant), then DHS may pursue criminal prosecution. The statute mandating DNA sample collection specifically states that an individual subject to DNA-sample collection who fails to cooperate in the collection of that sample may be guilty of a class A misdemeanor.”

Another section titled “Privacy Risk” notes that “individuals whose DNA sample is collected while the individuals are children will not be aware that their DNA profile will remain on file with FBI in perpetuity.” It is this collection and storage of DNA “in perpetuity” which sparked backlash from the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and a coalition of civil liberties and immigrant rights organizations.

The organizations first opposed a rule change that expanded the DNA collection abilities of CBP and ICE. The coalition called the rule “unacceptable and unnecessary privacy intrusion” that will have a dangerous impact on the individual being detained but also their family members. In an amicus brief to the Supreme Court, EPIC argued that law enforcement’s warrantless collection of DNA is unconstitutional.

The DNA collection plans come after the October 2019 announcement from the Department of Justice (DOJ) detailing their plans to mandate DNA collection almost all immigrants who cross the border and are held temporarily. Unlike the DHS assessment, the DOJ announcement did not apply to permanent residents or those legally entering the United States.

The consideration of DNA collection is one that has long been discussed by the Trump administration and supporters of his vision of building a wall between the United States and Mexico. The Border Security for America Act—one of several bills considered in relation to Trump’s desire to build a wall—would require new biometric systems to be up and running at the nation’s 15 busiest airports, seaports, and land ports within two years. After five years all land and sea ports of entry would require biometric systems to be running.

Some of the most worrisome portions of the bill include biometric scanning of all people who exit the United States, both citizens, and foreigners. In addition, the text of the bill calls for DNA collection of “any individual filing an application, petition, or other request for immigration benefit or status.”

Of course, the use of DNA collection and profiling has long been the domain of the U.S. government. Back in 2015, under the Obama administration, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) sued the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigations for failing to provide documents related to the Rapid DNA system. The FBI said they found no responsive records to Freedom of Information Act requests made by the EFF.

Rapid DNA analyzers are machines designed to allow processing of a DNA sample in as little as 50 minutes. The machines are portable and roughly about the same size as a laser printer. This means that law enforcement using Rapid DNA can collect a DNA sample from a suspect, and match the profile against a database without the help of a scientist in an accredited lab. The EFF stated this would lead to further invasions of privacy.

By Derrick Broze | Creative Commons |


Adam Toledo: Chicago Police Video Shows 13-Year-Old’s Hands Were Up When Cops Shot Him

Elias Marat



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The Chicago Police Department has released gruesome footage depicting the moment that police officers fatally shot 13-year-old Adam Toledo while his hands were up.

In new bodycam footage from the March 29 slaying, an officer pursuing Toledo can be heard shouting at the young boy to show his “f*cking hands” before shooting him a single time, leaving the boy covered in blood and gasping for air.

While the officer can be heard shouting “drop it,” the teenager appeared to have empty hands when he raised his arms in the moment before he was shot. Video also shows officers discovering a handgun near the scene.

Adam was later pronounced dead at the scene.

The video released Thursday by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability the footage from the officer who shot Toledo, along with 16 other body-warn camera video clips, two recordings of 911 calls, an incident report, and a response report, along with other materials.

The mother of Adam, Elizabeth Toledo, reported the boy one week prior to the shooting, although he did return hom on March 27 before leaving that night, reports WBEZ.  Because Adam did not have any form of identification, the family wasn’t informed by police about his death until March 31. In a GoFundMe page set up by Elizabeth, it was noted that one of Adam’s “dreams was to become a police officer.”

“It weighs heavy on our hearts to be planning our last goodbyes instead of watching him grow up and live out those dreams,” the family noted on the page.

The child has been described as having a “big imagination” and was a fan of children’s shows and zombie movies.

“Adam was really into zombies. And the zombie apocalypse. He even had this zombie apocalypse bag packed and ready to go. Some of his favorite movies and TV shows were ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,’ ‘Ghostbusters,’ ‘SpongeBob SquarePants,’ ‘Toy Story,’ ‘Cars,’ ‘The Walking Dead,’” Elizabeth told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has appealed for calm over the release of the gruesome footage while businesses in the area have boarded up their windows in anticipation of large protests.

“We live in a city that is traumatized by a long history of police violence and misconduct,” the mayor told reporters. “So while we don’t have enough information to be the judge and jury of this particular situation, it is certainly understandable why so many of our residents are feeling that all too familiar surge of outrage and pain.”

The release of the video comes amid continuing anger and grief over the April 11 shooting of Daunte Wright by an officer in a Minneapolis suburb.

It also comes as authorities fear a new wave of protests as communities await the outcome of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis Police officer accused of killing George Floyd last May after kneeling on his neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.

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Lil Nas X Song Is #1 In Saudi Arabia, Where Homosexuality Is Illegal Under Sharia Law

Elias Marat



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Lil Nas X has been on top of the world for weeks now, whether it’s living rent-free in the heads of homophobes or topping the Billboard charts after his smash hit “Montero (Call Me By Your Name)” dominated playlists.

And ironically, the anthem has become the most-played song in Saudi Arabia, the conservative kingdom where open expressions of same-sex love and even private acts of gay sex are punishable by death.

The song, whose video features the artist giving Satan himself a lap dance have dominated news conversations all over the globe, smashed through to the top of the Billboard Global 200, which ranks top tracks in over 200 territories, on Monday.

According to Apple Music, the song is also leading Saudi Arabia’s top 100 charts as the most-played song in the country.

Apparently overjoyed by the ranking, Lil Nas X tweeted: “WE NUMBER 1 IN SAUDI ARABIA WTF LETS GOOOO”

The autocratic kingdom, which has long been governed by a strict yet uncodified interpretation of Sharia law, has an atrocious record on LGBTQ rights and classifies homosexuality as a variety of extremism. N many circumstances, gay sex is punishable by death.

As the Human Dignity Trust explains, “The punishment varies depending on the circumstances: married men and interfaith sex are punished with the death penalty, while non-married men are punished with flogging. Sharia law principles underpinning the criminal law in Saudi Arabia also impose strict dress codes that impact on the gender expression of transgender people.”

However, this does not mean that Saudi citizens abstain from these “illicit” acts. As one fan wrote on Twitter: Period!!!! Let’s correct the narrative about the Middle East! Shoutout Saudi Arabia.”

However, another user responded: “I lived in Saudi Arabia my whole [life] and if I come out I will literally get stoned and people will be happy about it, saying it’s a ‘narrative’ doesn’t help anyone in the contrary, the middle IS homophobic and change NEEDS to happen.”

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Cop Who ‘Accidentally’ Killed Daunte Wright Arrested on 2nd-Degree Manslaughter Charges

Elias Marat



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The former Minnesota cop who shot and killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old unarmed Black man, during a traffic stop will now face charges of second-degree manslaughter, a prosecutor announced on Wednesday.

The brutal killing of Wright, which comes amid the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for last May’s killing of George Floyd, threatens to spark a new round of nationwide protests against police brutality and discriminatory policing.

On Wednesday, Washington County Attorney Pete Orput confirmed that Potter, a 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center Police Department, would be charged.

On Wednesday morning, agents with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension arrested Potter, the bureau announced in a statement.

Potter was taken into custody in St. Paul and will be booked at Hennepin County jail.

On Tuesday, Potter resigned as demands for justice for Wright reverberated nationwide. Her resignation coincided with that of the city’s former police chief, who claims that Potter accidentally grabbed her Glock when she thought she was reaching for her Taser during the Sunday traffic stop.

Wright’s family and attorneys have rejected the claim that Wright’s death was merely the result of an “accident” and are demanding accountability and sweeping reforms of policing in Minnesota.

Potter could face up to 10 years in prison along with a $20,000 fine, per Minnesota law.

“While we appreciate that the district attorney is pursuing justice for Daunte, no conviction can give the Wright family their loved one back,” said Wright family attorney Ben Crump in a statement.

“This was no accident. This was an intentional, deliberate and unlawful use of force,” the statement added.

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