N.Y.P.D. Detectives Gave a Boy, 12, a Soda. He Landed in a DNA Database.

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.

The New York Police Department has taken DNA samples from people convicted of crimes, as well as from people who are only arrested or sometimes simply questioned. The practice has exposed the Police Department to scrutiny over how the genetic material is collected and whether privacy rights are being violated, civil liberties lawyers said.

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