FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Aug. 31, 2018
ACLU Statement on Passage of Bill Prohibiting Police From Taking Minors’ DNA Without Parental Consent or Warrant
SAN DIEGO – The ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties issued the following statement on the California Legislature’s passage of Assembly Bill 1584, a measure that offers greater protections against law enforcement’s warrantless collection of DNA from minors.
“We applaud the legislature for passing AB 1584 by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher, who introduced the bill after reading reporter Kelly Davis’ article about our clients, Jamie Wilson and her teenage son. San Diego Police Department officers took DNA samples from Wilson’s son without her knowledge or consent during an illegal stop at a neighborhood park,” said Norma Chavez-Peterson, executive director of the ACLUF-SDIC.
“The ACLU commends Gonzalez-Fletcher’s initiative and leadership on this issue. SDPD's practice of collecting DNA from minors without a warrant or parental consent unjustly criminalizes San Diego’s youth, particularly children of color.”
Upon hearing the bill had passed, Ms. Wilson said: “For the past two and a half years I've appealed to the San Diego City Council and the San Diego Police Department for assistance in shutting this illegal practice down. I'm so happy to see our representatives at the state capitol moving swiftly to protect our children.”
Assemblymember Gonzalez-Fletcher’s bill is an important recognition that there must be no loopholes when it comes to protecting our children’s constitutional rights. No child should be subjected to this humiliating practice, which can have a lasting and traumatic effect. Moreover, DNA can reveal highly private information, including familial relationships, propensity for certain diseases and other personal characteristics.
If police officers don’t have a warrant, they must not be allowed to ask a minor child to give consent to this invasion of privacy without also obtaining the consent of a parent. Common sense dictates that involving parents in these kinds of situations is a good police practice and is in the best interest of every child.
We call on Gov. Jerry Brown to sign this sensible bill into law as soon as possible.