Police Continue Serial Rapist DNA Hunt

For months now, the Charlottesville Police have been pushing black men in Charlottesville to submit to DNA tests, ostensibly to eliminate potential suspects in the serial repist case. Suspects are told that they are protecting themselves by submitting to the test, because it rules them out. 550 have done so thus far. UVa Dean of African-American Affairs Rick Turner has grown unhappy with these DNA tests, and is calling for a meeting to talk this through. Last August, UVa student Steven Turner wrote about his subjection to this test in The Hook. Corinne Shamy has the story in today’s Cavalier Daily.

28 thoughts on “Police Continue Serial Rapist DNA Hunt”

  1. I want to know — what’s being done with these DNA samples? If everything is on the up and up (to the degree that pushing black men indiscriminately to get DNA testing done "for their own good" can be thought to be acceptable), then they are being disposed of, with no records being maintained, other than that the individual’s DNA does not match that of the serial rapist.

    On the other hand, if these samples are being saved in a database for future crosschecking, that’s some kind of fucked up. If that’s the case, I’ll go so far as to say that the police are using this serial rapist as a front for the purpose of building up a DNA database of black men.

  2. I don’t know anything about the situation, and it sounds fishy to me as well, but I get the impression they are only asking this of potential suspects, not the black population at large. I would assume that potential suspects would include persons with a violent criminal background.

  3. "If that’s the case, I’ll go so far as to say that the police are using this serial rapist as a front for the purpose of building up a DNA database of black men. "

    I hear your reasoning but millions of fingerprints are on file -military for instance — Do you think those prints should not be maintained on file – say upon discharge from service, prints must be destroyed because it is a conspiracy to build a vast fingerprint data file?

  4. This young man’s essay on his experience and subsequent emotions is poignant to me. Not because this incident was particularly wrenching – it was not – but because it demonstrates very well what my pet dysfunction of Americans is today: detachment, or in other words, Lack of Sympathy (not being Simpatico). It is the root of many evils by America today.

    You can read in Tuner’s experience how his eyes have been opened to racial discrimination. How it has affected his feelings of belonging, of righteousness. His inner spirit was touched by a simple encounter with 2 police officers, mostly just doing their job. Their worlds and beliefs collided and Turner’s was subdued. He lost some of his innocence that evening.

    We do not have universal health care because they, Congress, the Senate and the President, have fantastic health care.

    We export good paying jobs that would normally sustain families in the name of globalization that only really benefits the CEOs and other executives who live in gated, closed communities at the country club, where they don’t have to experience what they are creating by their uncaring decisions.

    We pollute, litter and desecrate our own country because we live in hermetic air-conditioned vinyl castles.

    We eat fast-food crap because we can do it by briefly rolling down the hermetic high-perching SUV monster. And we drive that hulking tank because our gasoline prices are subsidized by warmongering.


    Marie-Curie once said “you would forgive all if you could understand all”. Other than the profound insight she imparts, think also about that common verb, ‘to understand’. Standing under something provides a comprehension that would not be possible by observing it on CNN with a latté in one hand and the clicker in the other. Turner’s understanding of life just changed because he stood under the umbrella of racial discrimination, however mild the presentation. I just wish more of us could start to understand.

  5. they should inform people as such. if they’re only doing it to catch one person, then once they rule out a person’s DNA, they should destroy the sample. obviously, the serial rapist is not going to give a sample if he’s asked for one. so i think that if police are serious about catching the guy, they should come forward and say "hey, give us a sample, and if you don’t match the rapist, we’ll destroy it." i think a lot more people would be willing to help out if they knew that was the one and only thing their sample would be used for.

    personally, if the rapist were a white guy, i’d have no problem at all giving a sample to help catch him. hell, even if they kept it, i wouldn’t care. like cornelious said, how is it any different than a fingerprint?

  6. Those fingerprints were not collected in a racially discriminatory manner.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t have any problem with the idea of a police DNA database if it’s only used for comparison with crime scene evidence just like fingerprints are. The problems I have are (a) the temptation to selectively build a database of target populations based on racist or other discriminatory criteria, as is alleged here, and (b) privacy concerns about the genetic data being leaked to others who might want to use it to obtain information for other purposes – like your insurance company who might want to analyze your genome to see how you rate as a cancer risk. You can’t tell much from fingerprints, but your genes can reveal a lot about you.

  7. Well, I don`t have a problem with the police when they have a suspect identified by race and they concentrate on that race – they would be derelict if they didn`t. I think that is the case here.

    What I think has happened here is not based upon race but perhaps the police using poor technique to zero in on a perpetrator, i.e. checking all of a race because they have neither the expertise or the manpower to properly conduct the investigation without using this technique, so they are using a blanket approach. This approach is not the most admirable and desireable in police work but it is used.

    If they were checking all white men because their witness`all said the suspect was white nothing would be said, and in that light I don`t see this as racial discrimination. I see it as narrowing the suspect pool.

    Now if the suspect, according to witness information was white, and the police checked all black males then we would have a problem.

    If I were Chief of this force and my beat personnel were checking out whites and the suspect was identified as black I`d get me some cops butt for wasting time.

    I don`t have access to police files so I don`t know how firm they are in their belief the perpetrator is black but it seems as if they have something that so indicates.

    If, in either case the police are treating one race differently that the other, then that obviously is wrong. I will add, because they are telling people "it`s for you own good" or words to that effect that this type of statement has been used since I can remember – I can recall more than once telling a suspect – "I`ll put in a good word for you" if you cooperate – Sure-and that`s the truth but my "good word" didn`t count for much but I wasn`t lying – it`s a technique and no technique of that ilk is pretty. Like the good guy/bad guy roles – the ordinary citizen laughs at that but it is a standard interrogation technique whether the public likes it or not. No different than making friends and establishing good rapport in interrogation of PsW to get the subject to spill – same type thing.

    Please don`t hop on me and say "racist" because I`m not and worked hard in the late `40s for integration under the Truman doctrine in the Armed Services and positively in work forces since but common sense also applies.

  8. "Marie-Curie once said “you would forgive all if you could understand all”.

    Well, I`m sure M. Curie was a good old girl and did well in research but she went overboard on that quote. I understand the Germans under Hitler and the Japanese under Hirohito (read Military) ,I understand the Taliban, I understand the "Sniper" , ad infinitum, BUT M. Curie I don`t forgive any of it and my experience with some of it was NOT with a latte.

  9. Unfortunately, as you can see if you read the account from the Hook that Waldo mentioned above, the only “violent criminal background” one needs to be a target is having been born a black man.

    I read a similar article in one of the weeklys, probably about this time. It seems quite obvious that at least some of those who are being stopped are stopped because they are black. Pictures in the paper and all, most could not possibly be mistaken for a rapist.

    I applaud the Charlottesville Police for being open-minded, and considering young black men of all backgrounds for DNA testing, but requesting their DNA with no probable cause, sometimes using intense pressure if they refuse, is just plain wrong.

    Consider this paragraph from the Cavalier Daily article:

    “Longo emphasized the database is not a list of randomly selected men. He said individuals on the list have been added for a variety of reasons — either they were already in the records management system because of previous contact with the police, or they were added after a standard service call to police or a tip to the Crime-Stoppers telephone line mentioned them by name. “

    Contact from the police could range from anything from being arrested for first degree murder to getting a traffic ticket. I don’t know what the heck a “standard service call” means, other than it seems very benign. Sure, they should respond if someone is mentioned by name, but they should not pressure them to submit a DNA sample, especially if it is obvious they are not the suspect.

    The point is, every black mail who’s not obviously a little kid or a very old man is vulnerable to what in some cases has amounted to blatant racial profiling. Many of these people have no criminal record at all.

  10. If you haven’t already, I insist you go to the police department tomorrow and volunteer to give them your fingerprints.

  11. I’m intrigued by your second to last statement.

    You used the words "suspect" and "interrogation technique" when describing the disputed police methods.

    But do we really want to treat hundreds of people as suspects (obviously they may be, but in most cases there’s obvious evidence to the contrary)? Do we really want to go around interrogating people and demanding bodily fluids on their front porch, for the simple reason that they have a paranoid neighbor?

    Sounds kinda like a police state to me. I don’t think that drastic measures should be used until there’s some evidence that a particular individual might actually have a connection to the crime, moreso that he’s black.

  12. Just to clear up, do you mean the Germans and Japanese who actually perpetrated their country’s offenses in and around WW2, or are you referring to the German and Japanese people?

    Sure, it’s hard to forgive what Hitler did, but if you show me someone who stood by or maybe even helped Hitler gained power, because his nationalistic rantings sounded good after years of foreign military occupation… If you did nothing, or maybe even fought in the German army because you saw that people who did resist were killed… If you looked over to the section of town where the Jews had been corralled and thanked God that your kids had enough to eat… I can certainly understand and forgive the German people in their situation (I don’t know enough about Japanese society to make any judgments). Sure, they might have things to answer for, and sure the Germans and Europe as a whole could have done much more to stop Hitler, but even still, I can forgive.

    Or maybe I’m just too forgiving.

  13. I was, of course, referring to those who committed the crimes. Please note I started with that era and worked forward to the "Sniper" as examples of things I can`t forgive and the broad aspects they encompass – I could have added 9/11 and the murder of children in recent cases but I thought my examples were sufficient to buttress my argument against M. Curie`s very general statement which I think is ridiculous.

  14. "You used the words "suspect" and "interrogation technique" when describing the disputed police methods"

    No, I used those terms when discussing techniques in general, NOT describing the techniques in use in this case. I don`t know what the techniques are in use, I can only, as others do, speculate.

    A little off subject, I suppose I could have used a "nuance" or two instead of expressing realism and joined the increasing number of people who want to hide reality under a bushel of nuances.

    In my view that tends to soften reactions and inhibits problem solving by tending to mitigate any problem at hand.

  15. Oh yes, there’s always a good explanation for police activity. But why are some neighborhoods responded to at the drop of a hint whereas others are ignored completely until maybe somebody gets shot or something? Oh yes, I’m sure there’s a perfectly good explanation…

  16. I don’t think you got the meaning of my post. And as for Marie-Curie, she was more so trying to state the impossibility of human comprehension vis-a-vis human conditions.

  17. Also… you must be quite an old dude, being that this Polish / French scientist and humanitarian died in 1934. Maybe you’ve been through kimo therapy of you were at Hiroshima?

  18. I believe you mentioned the madame before I did.

    Is your post indicative of your sensitivity to the world including SUVs/CEOs?/etc which apparently you despise.

    Are your parents "old dudes" who speak from greater depth of experience that you do? Dis one dis all.

    Thanks for revealing your true nature. I had previously deduced your level of maturity and accomplishments.

    Kimo ????

  19. "Though you could not possibly understand all."

    I guess you are correct because you said so.

  20. unless it’s understanding why people don’t agree with their positions on the issues.

    i understand perfectly why the police asked mr. turner for a DNA sample. they’re running out of options. the rapist has been on the loose for over 6 years, and all the CPD has is a sketch of the guy.

    maybe when the rapist starts killing his victims, people will stop crying racism so quickly and start actually trying to catch the S.O.B.

  21. No, I am not correct on this issue because I said so.

    All I am saying is that you cannot possibly know everything about 9/11, the Nazi Regime, the DC snipers, etc., etc., etc…. You cannot know about the people involved, their motivations, their character, fears, hopes, etc. Nobody can, unless you happen to be God.

  22. I have long found that fingerprint-your-kids thing <i>really</i> sketchy. If that fingerprinting is being done for the purpose of physical evidence in the case of kidnapping (as if the kid wouldn’t leave his grubby little prints all over the house anyway), then I’d like to know if they’re destroyed when the child reaches the age of 18, or if they’re put into the general pool of fingerprints.

    I suspect that the childhood fingerprinting deal is just to get the fingerprints of the general population through a reasonable-seeming method. That’s pure speculation, but it’s what I expect is going on.

  23. Huh? You lost me there. You got my first post wrong. Now the 2nd too. Oh well, a post about "understanding" is an obvious target for a misunderstanding…

  24. then people wouldn’t misconstrue what you’re trying to say. you spouted on and on about detachment and understanding, but you didn’t make a solid point.

  25. so, my fingerprints are in a police database someplace. big deal? that only affects me if there’s a crime committed someplace, and i become a suspect.

    think about it, the day you got your driver’s license, you gave the goverment 100 times more information than they could ever get from your fingerprints. how exactly is having your DNA in a database going to adversely affect your life? if you have something to hide, then it might just be a bad thing.

    here’s a thought…maybe steven turner doesn’t want to give the CPD his DNA, b/c he’s got a skeleton or two in his closet. makes you wonder.

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