SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – San Francisco’s District Attorney is going after the city’s police department for a practice he says is considered routine.
District Attorney Chesa Boudin says police have been using victims’ DNA collected in rape kits to arrest them for future crimes.
The DA, a city supervisor, and state senator say they’re committed to putting an end to it.
The DA says DNA from rape kits isn’t just being used to make arrests in San Francisco, but in other parts of the state as well, referencing a rape kit from six years ago as proof.
It has to stop—was the message District Attorney Chesa Boudin wants to get across when it comes to police using DNA from rape kits to arrest victims.
He says he became aware of the practice by the San Francisco Police last week after reading a report from the department’s crime lab where DNA from a crime scene was matched with DNA from a 2016 rape kit.
“In a rape kit where a survivor had the courage and the fortitude and the trust to come forward and submit herself to an invasive process so that we could do right by her,” Boudin said.
Pamela Tate is the executive director of Black Women Revolt Against Domestic Violence and a survivor of sexual assault.
She says she was too traumatized to submit to an intrusive exam and worries other victims will do the same if they think the evidence could be used against them in the future.
“It will allow rapists to stay on the street because people will continue to underreport when they have experienced rape. It will increase crime here in San Francisco and throughout the state,” Tate said.
San Francisco Police Chief William Scott says existing DNA collection policies have been legally vetted but that the Assistant Chief for Operations is reviewing the arrest identified by the DA’s office saying:
“If it’s true that DNA collected from a rape or sexual assault victim has been used by SFPD to identify and apprehend that person as a suspect in another crime, I’m committed to ending the practice.”
City and state lawmakers agree.
Senator Scott Weiner says he’s working on legislation to block the practice in all of California and San Francisco Supervisor Hillary Ronen sent a request Monday morning to the city’s attorney’s office to draft legislation.
“We know that one of every two women are sexually assaulted in their lifetime. These shocking statistics have to end,” Ronen said.
According to District Attorney Boudin, the charges against the woman whose DNA from a 2016 rape kit was used to make her arrest have been dropped.