Prosecutor: San Francisco police used the rape victim database as a way to identify suspects

Chesa Boudin, San Francisco District Attorney, called the alleged practice "legally & ethically wrong."

Prosecutor: San Francisco police used the rape victim database as a way to identify suspects

San Francisco Police Department accused of using DNA taken from victims of sexual assault to identify potential crime suspects. This is a practice that was deemed "legally and ethically illegal" by the city's District Attorney.

Chesa Boudin, San Francisco District Attorney, stated Monday in a statement that his office demanded an immediate halt to the alleged practice. He said it treats victims like evidence and not as human beings.

According to the DA's office, the crime lab of the police department tried to identify suspects using DNA from victims of rape or sexual assault.

It's not clear how long this practice was used, or how many suspects were allegedly identified using it.

The spokeswoman of the district attorney didn't immediately respond to my request for more information about the alleged practice. The San Francisco Chronicle reported Boudin claimed that his office was aware of the matter last week.
Boudin claimed DNA taken from a rape examination years ago was used by the Chronicle to link a woman with a property crime.

According to the Chronicle, he also stated that such a practice could be a violation of the California Victims Bill of Rights.

The police department did no immediate respond to a request to comment. The Associated Press reported Chief Bill Scott stated that he had ordered an inquiry.

Scott stated that "we must not create disincentives to crime victims to cooperate police. And if it is true that DNA from a rape victim or sexual assault victim was used by SFPD in order to identify and apprehend him as a suspect for another crime, then I'm committed ending this practice," according to the AP.

The district attorney's office released statements that state and local officials said they were looking into legislation to stop the use of victim databases for the identification of crime suspects.


 

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