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US detectives tried to bypass biometric security with dead suspect’s fingerprints

The Largo Police Department in Florida has caused a stir in its latest attempt to access the data of its suspects, after a fatal shooting made things more complicated than usual. Crashing the funeral home of the dead suspect, detectives attempted to unlock his smartphone’s biometric security by using his fingerprints, causing distress among the family.

Linus F. Phillip lost his life in a scuffle with officers at the end of last month, after he was pulled over due to his tinted windows causing suspicion. The officers placed Phillip under arrest due to the smell of drugs, but not before Phillip could attempt a getaway. Caught halfway outside of the vehicle in motion, one of the officers fired a fatal shot, causing the car to crash.

The body was moved to the Sylvan Abbey Funeral Home in Clearwater, Florida, where detectives visited shortly after in an attempt to unlock Phillip’s smartphone using his fingerprints. The Tampa Bay Times reports that this was in relation to a separate drug investigation, which resulted in the detectives failing to gain access to the device.

Largo police spokesman Lt. Randall Chaney has confirmed that the practice, while controversial, is entirely legal and backed by multiple legal experts that say constitutional protections don’t apply to the deceased. Needless to say, Phillip’s family is distraught with fiancé Victoria Armstrong telling the Times of how she felt “disrespected and violated” by the actions of the department.

KitGuru Says: It is certainly questionable considering the family’s grief, however the role Phillip may or may not have played in the crime outweighs morals in the eyes of the law. Do you think this is a violation of human rights or do you agree with the actions of the police department?

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