How Did 42 Babies End Up in a California Gang Database?

CalGang is a database system that (theoretically) provides law enforcement with information about an individual’s gang associations. A recent audit—which looked at law enforcement offices in Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Santa Clara, and Sonoma—found that among other serious mistakes, 42 babies were included on the list as suspected gangsters.

Twenty-eight of these individuals under the age of one were on the list for “admitting to being members.”

The database is widely used by police departments across California, but the audit found that some agencies were unable to explain how certain people (like babies?) ended up on the list as gang members.

Voice of San Diego reported on several other issues brought to light by the audit:

“Flaws in CalGang’s controls caused many individuals to remain in the system longer than federal regulations allow; in fact, some individuals are currently scheduled to remain in CalGang for hundreds of years.”

The CalGang leadership structure doesn’t allow for any public input or oversight, and conflicts are rampant. One law enforcement officer, for example, “stated that he enters approximately 95 percent of CalGang records for his agency, yet this same sergeant is also responsible for conducting any audits of CalGang records for the region because he is the node administrator.”

Though CalGang data is intended to be used only as a law enforcement tool, the audit found “at least three law enforcement agencies may have inappropriately used CalGang as an employment screening tool”–possibly in violation of those individuals’ privacy rights.

San Diego Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, who called for the audit, told VOSD she wasn’t shocked by the findings. “As most folks know, my own son was threatened to be put on the gang list, and he hadn’t done anything. I hear these things from parents on a regular basis. But I think some of my colleagues were shocked,” she said.

But wait, there’s a totally reasonable explanation for these errors!

Typos. “The errors that we found, some of them could have been typos,” Cal State Auditor Spokeswoman Margarita Fernandez told BuzzFeed News.

So, babies, welcome to 2016! Law enforcement can put you on a gang watch list before your first birthday because of a “typo,” a steadily melting creamsicle (who likes to yell at people your age, actually) might become our next president, and pretty much everyone is freaking out about Zika. I wish I could tell you it gets better, but it probably won’t.

Also, watch this:

Article Appeared @http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/news/a47610/babies-in-gangs-database/

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