New York City detectives questioning a boy facing a felony charge last year offered him a McDonald’s soda. When the boy left, they took the straw and tested it for his DNA.
Although it did not match evidence found at a crime scene, his DNA was entered into the city’s genetic database. To have it removed, the child’s family had to petition a court and file an appeal, a process that took more than a year. The boy was 12.
The city’s DNA database has grown by nearly 29 percent over the last two years, and now has 82,473 genetic profiles, becoming a potentially potent tool for law enforcement but one that operates with little if any oversight.