Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The New York Police Department plans to limit DNA collection from juveniles and ease restrictions on removing samples from the city's digital database, New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea told the Wall Street Journal this week.

The big picture: U.S. law enforcement has access to DNA in databases outside of the criminal justice system. Through genealogy websites with millions of users like FamilyTreeDNA and GEDmatch — the latter of which automatically opts users out of law enforcement collection — police can use DNA to identify suspects, the New York Times reports.

Details: The NYPD plans to audit more than 80,000 samples managed by the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner's Local DNA Index System by removing samples that are over two years old and those not "linked to a continuing case of conviction," the WSJ reports.

  • With the changes, a court order will no longer be required for people acquitted in criminal cases to remove their DNA samples from the database, after they give documentation of a court's final decision in their case.
  • NYPD investigators would only be able to collect DNA from juveniles when they are being investigated for sex crimes, felonies, hate crimes or firearm crimes under the new plan.

Go deeper: Ancestry.com refused court request to give police DNA database access

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Why it matters: Several videos of protests over the weekend showed NYPD officers pushing protestors, driving SUVs through crowds and more. While some of the confrontations were instigated by the protestors, Cuomo said that allegations of misconduct by police officers should be fully investigated.

Updated May 31, 2020 - Politics & Policy

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Photo: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Clashes erupted between law enforcement and protesters in several major U.S. cities Saturday night as demonstrations over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black men spread across the country.

The big picture: Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody is the latest reminder of the disparities between black and white communities in the U.S. and comes as African Americans grapple with higher death rates from the coronavirus and higher unemployment from trying to stem its spread.

Updated May 31, 2020 - Politics & Policy

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Washington State Police use tear gas to disperse a crowd in Seattle during a demonstration protesting the death of George Floyd. Photo: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images

Amnesty International issued a statement on Sunday morning calling for an end to militarized policing in several U.S. cities and the use of "excessive force" against demonstrators protesting police brutality.

Why it matters: The human rights group said police across the country were "failing their obligations under international law to respect and facilitate the right to peaceful protest, exacerbating a tense situation and endangering the lives of protesters."