Skip to main content
Criminal Justice

DA Chesa Boudin Drops Case after Accusing Police of Using DNA from Rape Kit to Identify Suspect

Written by Michael BarbaPublished Feb. 15, 2022 • 5:48pm

English

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin dropped charges against a woman after learning that police identified her as a suspect in the case using DNA evidence from an investigation into her sexual assault years ago, officials said Tuesday.

The news comes a day after Boudin accused police of using DNA evidence from a sexual assault survivor’s rape kit to arrest her in connection with an unrelated felony property crime. Boudin said the arrest was the result of police routinely searching a database containing DNA evidence from rape kits for matches to evidence from unrelated cases.

The alleged practice, which alarmed criminal justice experts and advocates for sexual assault survivors, raises legal and ethical issues for Boudin and his office. The progressive prosecutor—who has gone to war with Police Chief Bill Scott in recent weeks—worried that the practice would dissuade survivors from reporting rapes, and said it could compromise prosecutions by violating Fourth Amendment protections against unlawful searches and seizures.

A spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office declined to comment on the dismissal of charges Tuesday.

Chief Scott has not confirmed that his department identified the suspect using DNA evidence from a rape kit, but said Monday he was committed to ending the practice if the allegations are true. In a statement, the chief also raised the possibility that the “suspect in this case may have been identified through a DNA hit in a non-victim DNA database.”

However, a report reviewed by The Standard shows that police matched a DNA sample from a recent property crime investigation to an oral swab taken as part of a sexual assault examination kit in 2016. The match was detected during a “routine search” of an internal database maintained by the department’s Crime Lab.

Scott said the police department will review its DNA collection practices and policies, as well as the particular case in question, in response to the allegations.

The revelations could also prompt legislative changes at the local and state levels.

Supervisor Hillary Ronen said she would introduce a policy to prohibit police from using rape kit DNA for any reason other than to investigate sex crimes, while state Sen. Scott Wiener, of San Francisco, said he was considering addressing the issue through state legislation.

English

Michael Barba can be reached at [email protected]


City To Barricade Street That’s Become San Francisco’s ‘Las Vegas Strip’

City To Barricade Street That’s Become San Francisco’s ‘Las Vegas Strip’


Arrest Made After Suspect Enters SF School, Pushes Girl Into Bathroom Stall

Arrest Made After Suspect Enters SF School, Pushes Girl Into Bathroom Stall


Boys Robbed 53-Year-Old Woman’s Scooter on San Francisco Street

Boys Robbed 53-Year-Old Woman’s Scooter on San Francisco Street


Woman Stabbed Downtown SF Restaurant Owner With Fork

Woman Stabbed Downtown SF Restaurant Owner With Fork


SF Police Search for Man Who Shot Blanks in Synagogue, Flashed Gun in Theater

SF Police Search for Man Who Shot Blanks in Synagogue, Flashed Gun in Theater



Stay on top of what’s happening in your city

SF’s most important stories, delivered straight to your inbox



By clicking Subscribe you confirm you have read and agree to our Terms of Use and acknowledge our Privacy Policy