D.C.'s Department of Forensic Science is under criminal investigation after allegations of wrongdoing in the fingerprint section.
The U.S. Attorney's Office said new allegations in a letter from a confidential source say, “DFS recently discovered a ‘systemic issue’ with Fingerprint Analysis Unit analysts making examination errors and DFS managers are trying to cover up these issues as well.”
The confidential source is the third to take allegations of wrongdoing inside the D.C. crime lab, as the Department of Forensic Science is known, to the D.C. Office of the Inspector General.
The confidential source, according to the letter, alleges examination errors and “potential concealment of those errors by of managers and senior leadership.”
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The National Accreditation Board sent a letter to the D.C. crime lab on Friday immediately suspending the lab’s accreditation. The board said it found credible evidence the lab had deliberately concealed information from the assessment team and engaged in misrepresentations and fraudulent behavior, according to a filing by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
The mayor’s office said that the suspension of all examination of evidence at the lab is in place for 30 days and that it planned to appeal the board’s decision.
The allegations of errors in the fingerprint section follow the decision to suspend the lab’s accreditation for other errors. An independent panel of forensic experts determined mistakes were made in ballistics evidence testing in two homicide cases.
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When confronted with the findings, the board said the lab “misrepresented” the mistakes.
The suspension means, for now, evidence collected in criminal cases in the District will have to be sent elsewhere at additional cost to the city.
D.C. Council member Charles Allen said he plans on holding a hearing on the crime lab.