13 May 2022
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Allegations of Minneapolis Police officers taking DNA samples from children without parental consent have reached Mayor Jacob Frey’s office.
The Unity in Community Mediation Team brought the concerns to Minneapolis Police as soon as they were made aware of the situation, and now the community is issuing demands for transparency, accountability and consequences.
This comes after a 13-year-old boy was detained by police at Phelps Park after reports of gunfire in the area earlier this month.
The child was not charged, but his DNA was taken, and now his family and members of the Unity in Community Meditation Team want to know why.
“I’m asking the mayor to open up an investigation into this and actually look into how many times has this happened to our juveniles,” A.J. Flowers, of the Young People’s Task Force, said.
The Unity in Community Mediation Team sent a letter to interim MPD Chief Amelia Huffman outlining the incident and concerns. The email response reads, “There currently is no policy language to address juvenile DNA. We are working with our research policy coordinators to review nation wide model practices regarding DNA as it relates to juveniles.”
Flowers disagrees with that statement.
“We don’t need no national model. We can tell you the model right here: cease and desist taking juveniles’ DNA without parental consent, without a warrant, or without a conviction,” Flowers said.
The Unity in Community Mediation Team also wants the practice to stop.
“We are serious about ceasing and desisting this. If you can do a moratorium on no-knock, Mr. Mayor, you can do a moratorium on this today,” Rev. Ian Bethel said.
The team also wants to know who knew about this and wants the DNA sealed and returned to the child’s parents.
“We know about this one case, but as was said here, we don’t know how far this has spread. We don’t know how long this has been going on,” Mark Anderson said.
Although there are lots of questions and frustration, the team says they are still committed to working with police.
A request has been sent to Frey and Huffman to discuss this issue with the mediation team early next week. There is no word yet on if that meeting will happen.