Dear Democracy Now! Visitor: We are an independent, ad-free daily news program that serves millions of viewers and listeners each month. In this US election year, Democracy Now! is more important than ever. For 20 years, we’ve put a spotlight on corporate and government abuses of power. We lift up the stories of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. We do all of this with just a fraction of the budget and staff of a commercial news show. We do it without ads, corporate sponsorship or government funding. How is this possible? Only with your support. A generous funder will match your donation dollar for dollar if you donate right now. That means when you give $10, your donation will be worth $20. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you every day.

Your Donation: $

You Thought Precrime Was Just An Orwellian Hollywood Fantasy? Police in Delaware Are Building a Database of Potential Criminals

August 28, 2002
Story
WATCH FULL SHOW

I don’t know if you’ve gotten a chance to see the Hollywood movie "Minority Report." It has gotten a great deal of media attention because it stars Tom Cruise. But what hasn’t gotten much attention is the movie’s subject: people being arrested for crimes before they commit them.

Maybe you thought this was just a movie, about an Orwellian state not possible in this country today.

But this week Vice President Dick Cheney called for a "pre-emptive" attack on Iraq because Saddam Hussein may eventually acquire nuclear weapons. He presented no evidence to bolster his case.

And it has just emerged that police in Delaware are already creating a database of possible future suspects. The Wilmington Police Department in June formed a "jump squad" comprised of a team of officers who stop "suspicious" individuals and snap their photos. The people the police are stopping haven’t committed a crime. But the database is used in future police lineups. Police are mostly visiting poor neighborhoods.

The news first emerged in local Delaware papers, but has catapulted to the national and international scene.

The ACLU is slamming the program and some city councilors are also opposed. But the Wilmington mayor told the Wilmington News Journal that criticism of the program is "asinine and intellectually bankrupt," and he will not stop the practice.

Tape:

  • Trailer for the movie, 'Minority Report'

Guests:

  • Drewry Nash Fennell, Executive Director of the Delaware American Civil Liberties Union.
  • John Rago, spokesman for Wilmington Mayor James Baker.

Related links:


The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.