Omaha police are collecting DNA samples from black men in a serial rapist investigation, prompting charges of racial profiling. The Omaha World-Herald says the search involves black workers for the Omaha Public Power District and others. Police say they are not going door-to-door to collect DNA or conducting random sweeps. Each man has been approached, they say, because of a specific investigative lead. Those being asked for samples don’t understand the rhyme or reason – beyond their race – for the testing. “This is a witch hunt, and it’s ridiculous,” said Damion Davis, 30, a painter. “You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Either I could do it and feel violated. Or I could refuse and have doubts running around my house.”
Police won’t say how many men they’ve tested. State Sen. Ernie Chambers and City Councilman Frank Brown each have heard from a variety of men. Police Chief Thomas Warren, the city’s first black police chief, said there is nothing racist about this investigation. He noted that the four victims are black women. Their accounts have police looking for a black man age 25 to 40, 5-foot-3 to 5-foot-9, 175 to 250 pounds. Warren said the tests are voluntary but that police would obtain court orders, if necessary, to collect DNA. He said the tests are more efficient than taking each person downtown for questioning and alibi checks.