Spit justice: MBTA now swabbing for DNA samples
Transit police for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority will now begin swabbing and testing suspects who spit in the face of transit bus drivers and other MBTA employees.
According to the Boston Herald, about 25 percent of assaults on transit employees involve spitting incidents, and the number is increasing. The MBTA is believed to be the first transit agency to use DNA evidence in spitting cases. A guilty verdict for a felony assault on someone operating a public vehicle could bring a 20-year sentence.
Transit police will be required to take cheek swab of the driver’s DNA to eliminate evidence contamination. DNA sample results will only be used for prosecution. Police will use samples taken from bus drivers, trolley operators and customer service agents and will cross-reference with the state’s DNA database, which contains samples from more than 94,000 convicted felons. Drivers will be able to wipe the offending spit off their face before police arrive.