Serial Rapist DNA Lawsuit Dismissed

The lawsuit over the serial rapist DNA testing has been dismissed, CBS 19 reports. Larry Monroe filed a lawsuit against the city in 2004 after being compelled to submit to DNA testing on the basis of his race and sex, even seeking class action status a year later. CBS 19 does not, oddly, say why the suit was dismissed, but does point out that Monroe can still appeal.

It was just yesterday that Nathan Antonio Washington was sentenced after being arrested on the basis of DNA evidence, though that DNA evidence did not result from the widespread testing of black men. The woman who gave police the crucial tip received a $60,000 reward today.

21 thoughts on “Serial Rapist DNA Lawsuit Dismissed”

  1. “The lawsuit, originally filed in 2004 by plaintiff Larry Monroe, claimed that his constitutional rights were violated when he was asked to voluntarily provide a DNA sample as a part of the serial rapist investigation.” Is “compelled” the right word?

  2. I don’t recall “voluntary” being a part of the formula. Weren’t young black males “required” to give a sample upon request by any officer who stopped them?

  3. I expect that intelligent minds may disagree about exactly how voluntary that those DNA tests were. I didn’t like them one bit — I think they were coercive, at best — but, then, I have a strong libertarian streak.

  4. Black men walking on the street were “asked” to provide DNA samples, but during that same timeframe, when a young UVA woman asked police to test the DNA of the man who raped her and compare it to the databank, the response was a resounding no. I never understood that, either.

  5. Re-reading the above quote, it really isn’t clear if the word “voluntary” was a part of the suit or simply used by the reporter. I should know better than to infer when reading a newspaper article.

  6. That’s the word I was trying to think of earlier, Waldo — coersion — the unlawful act of compelling a person to do something. I thought the lawsuits were about men being compelled to “give a DNA sample or face the consequences.” I doubt many of those approached and asked to give a DNA sample felt they could refuse and walk away voluntarily. If I had been an officer singling out black men for a DNA sample I would have at least had the entire encounter on audio tape, if not video tape. Maybe the cops do have video or audio tapes. It would have been interesting to see these tapes if the lawsuit had played out.

  7. Do we know that the police did not explain that the sampling was voluntary? I do believe I vaguely remember reading about the incident that Susan was talking about and being very confused.

  8. Let me tell you about a similar case a few years ago. A very expensive piece of landmoving equipment was set on fire. The equipment belonged to a very prominent land developer in this area and the pressure to solve this crime was high. Law enforcement decided to suspecte vandalism by a neighborhood kid. And I agree with this, childish misbehavoir. So the cops figured the best way to solve this crime was to solicit fingerprints from all the kids in the neighborhood. In other words, let each and every kid prove they were innocent, one by one. This would be much easier than actually investigating the crime or looking for the guilty party. And this seemed to go well until one parent objected and refused to let his child’s rights be violated. So, an old unsolved crime was picked out of the file cabinet, the warrant was magically served on this parent, and the kid’s fingerprints were taken after the parent was hauled off in a police car. End result, the kid’s fingerprints did not match the suspect prints. But every constitutional right this family had was trampled on. So what I am saying is I hope that no person living in this area actually believes they have any rights whatsoever when confronted by law enforcement.

  9. Channel 29 reported on Monday that there were three parts of the suit. Two had been dismiised by the judge and a third was still pending — though the plantiff’s attorney considered it the weakest element of the case.

    The law says you cannot appeal any part of a case until all of it has been resolved in the lower court.

    The plantiff’s attorney dropped the third (least important part) to clear the way for filing the two more more critical points on appeal in Federal court.

    That’s why it was dropped.

  10. The whole value of DNA testing non-suspects in order to find a criminal has been completely misunderstood by both the police and the public.

    Obviously the criminal is not going to agree to be tested no matter what. So there is no point is having these drag-net type things where they go coercing black males into submitting to the test. The real value in a DNA drag net is finding someone who is *related* to the suspect. Someone who is not guilty and probably has no idea that their cousin or uncle is a murderer or rapist. Then, once you have a good ‘hit,’ you start looking at that person’s relatives to see who might fit other elements of the description and narrow it down from there. I believe that was part of how they got that BTK guy.

    So what the police should have been doing was asking women as well as men to voluntarily agree to submit DNA samples. And the police should have done a better job of explaining to everyone who was asked for a sample that they are not the suspect – we just want to know if they are related to the suspect.

    Anyway, I think that the police were doing the right thing in having a DNA dragnet. They just lost sight of the actual point of the thing for a while.

  11. Jackson, you wrote

    “And the police should have done a better job of explaining to everyone who was asked for a sample that they are not the suspect – we just want to know if they are related to the suspect.”

    My recollection is hazy, but I thought they really did think the DNA dragnet was a way to get the suspect, not someone related to the suspect. At least, I seem to recall that what they told the black males they approached was “if you take this test, we can rule you out definitively as the suspect.” Not “if you take this test, we can possibly find out that your uncle did it.” Which, of course, no one would say yes to, either, unless he really hated his uncle.

    I think the point is it was hugely insensitive and smacked of an assumption that any and all black males in town were assumed guilty until they proved their innocence via the test.

  12. “I always thought I was good, until I was tempted.”

    can you believe he said this?? TEMPTED???? WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He is such a sucka to me this dude. I cannot believe this guy…

  13. Mr. Monroe testified at one of the first hearings that he did indeed give his dna sample voluntarily and he was not coerced at all. In my opinion, that is why the case was dismissed, based on Monroe’s own words there was no issue. It was only in hindsight that he objected.

  14. I have to agree with Cecil. From what I saw and heard, I felt every black male in Charlottesville was a suspect until they proved their individual innocence by subjecting themselves to DNA testing.

    iknowcville, what did the other 189 black males say? Did they claim their DNA samples were given voluntarily too?

  15. Steve, they did not file suit so I imagine they were fine with it. Well maybe not, but I am sure the police had an exact way of asking for samples that got them implied consent, which is why the suit was dismissed. You know the answer NO is sometimes the best policy

  16. It’s true that the answer NO is sometimes the best policy, even when (especially when?) it’s the police asking. “May I take a look in your car?” No, you may not. But many of us are socially conditioned to say yes to the nice policeman. And many of us are not even aware that we’re allowed to say no in most cases.

    I’m not busting on the cops so much as I’m busting on the passivity of a lot of us (myself prominently included). Until that debacle at AHS involving the supposed Hitler-birthday-Columbine-wannabes, I probably would have said “yes” if the cops wanted to “just talk” to my child. Now, no way. Which is too bad.

    I don’t see it as paternalism to point out that a certain segment of our citizenry (low-income black males in particular, all blacks more generally) has historically been disproportionately treated unfairly by the police with the result that, yes, I think it’s really, really an uncomfortable and implied-threatening situation when the nice police officer asks the black citizen if he wouldn’t mind providing a DNA sample so he can be ruled out of the suspect pool. The cop doesn’t even have to understand how it sounds to the black guy; he doesn’t have to intend for it to be an implied threat in order for it to play that way. History matters, and context matters, and it’s a vastly different experience if my white upper-class suit-and-tie wearing husband gets pulled over by the cops than if my black hip-hoppy-looking student who grew up in Hampton gets stopped by the cops.

  17. One size doesn’t fit all. “I don’t see it as paternalism to point out that a certain segment of our citizenry (low-income black males in particular, all blacks more generally) has historically been disproportionately treated unfairly by the police…” According to that man who periodically appears before City Council that lives in the 10th & Page area, his people seem to have a history of NOT seeing the police and would like to see more of them. There are some stereotypes working very hard here.

  18. Well, perhaps you should spell out the stereotypes you see working here. How does the fact that someone from the black community wants MORE of the good kind of police attention (i.e., policing) negate the observation that the black community has historically received MOST of the bad kind of police attention (i.e., harassment)?

    In a different thread on this site, Cville Eye was apparently unaware of what the 13th/14th/15th and the 19th Amendments were all about, so perhaps history is just not his long suit.

  19. If a person has a history of being treated badly by somebody, would he normally want to have more contact with that person (unless he has some emotional problems, like, say, a battered wife).
    Cecil is referring to a comment I made ““We should not be surprised at this dynamic: white men handed the vote (in theory, anyway) to black men sixty-some years before they handed it to their mothers and daughters.” To which I responded, “When did all of this happen?” I left that topic alone because I really didn’t want to get into the difference between de factor and de jure and still don’t.

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