Political correctness puts a useful DNA test out of bounds?


In the summer of 2002, the FBI, the Baton Rouge Police Department, and several other agencies began a massive search for a serial killer suspected of murdering three women. Based on an FBI profile and an eyewitness report, they upended southern Louisiana looking for a white man who drives a white pickup, collecting DNA from more than 1,000 Caucasian males. They found nothing. Meanwhile, the killer struck again.

In March 2003, investigators turned to Tony Frudakis, a molecular biologist who said he could determine the suspect’s race by analyzing his DNA. Uncertain about the science, the police asked Frudakis to take a blind test: They sent him DNA swabs from 20 people to see if he could identify their races. He nailed every one.

On a conference call a few weeks later, Frudakis reported his results on their killer. “Your guy could be African-American or Afro-Caribbean, but there is no chance that this is a Caucasian.” There was a prolonged silence, followed by a flurry of questions. They all came down to this: Would Frudakis bet his life on his results? Absolutely.

We’re not talking about racial profiling here, but hard science that helps solve crimes. In this case, the science came in and the police stopped looking in all the wrong directions and caught their killer. Read the rest of the story but make sure to get all the way to the end to meet a prosecutor who should look for another line of work.

Tony Clayton, a black man and a prosecutor who tried one of the Baton Rouge murder cases, concedes the benefits of the test: “Had it not been for Frudakis, we would still be looking for the white guy in the white pickup.” Nevertheless, Clayton says he dislikes anything that implies we don’t all “bleed the same blood.” He adds, “If I could push a button and make this technology disappear, I would.”

Had it not been for the DNA test, this prosecutor wouldn’t have a case, a killer would still be on the loose and the police would be wasting valuable time and resources looking in the wrong places. But political correctness trumps all, so it’s better to throw away a valuable crimefighting tool that leads to the right suspect than to solve crimes in a way that leads directly to the perp. Political correctness has turned too many good minds to goo.