Florida police used a dead guy's finger to try and unlock his phone


Following a man’s death, authorities in Florida went to a funeral home where his body was being kept and used the man’s finger in an attempt to unlock his cellphone as part of their investigation.

The Associated Press reports that 30-year-old Linus Phillip was killed by a Largo police officer last month. Authorities say Phillip attempted to drive away before an officer could search his vehicle, leading to the shooting and Phillip’s eventual death.

At the funeral home following the incident, officers held Phillip’s finger to the phone’s fingerprint sensor, but the effort failed to unlock it.

According to the AP, for the most part, legal experts agree that what the officers did was in their legal right. Some, however, question whether it was appropriate or not.

Charles Rose, a professor at Stetson University College of Law, told the Tampa Bay Times that deceased individuals aren’t able to assert their Fourth Amendment protections because the deceased can't legally own property. But, Rose added, those rights could apply to whoever inherits the property.

For the full story, click here.

Stay on top of Orlando news and views. Sign up for our weekly Headlines newsletter.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at [email protected].

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.