15:12, April 22 242 0 theguardian.com

2018-04-22 15:12:04
Florida detectives used dead man's finger in attempt to unlock phone

Florida detectives investigating a fatal police shooting went to a funeral home and used the dead man’s finger to try to unlock his cellphone.

Linus Phillip, 30, was killed by a Largo police officer last month. Authorities say he tried to drive away before an officer could search him.

At the funeral home, two detectives held the man’s hands up to the phone’s fingerprint sensor. They could not unlock it.

Phillip’s fiancée, Victoria Armstrong, says she felt violated and disrespected.

Legal experts mostly agree that what the detectives did was legal, but they question whether it was appropriate.

Charles Rose, a professor at Stetson University College of Law, told the Tampa Bay Times dead people cannot assert fourth amendment protections – securing “their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures” – because you cannot own property when you’re dead.

But those rights could apply to whoever inherits the property, he said.