Two Florida police detectives showed up at a funeral home and tried to use a dead man’s finger to unlock his cellphone after he was killed by police last month, The Root reports.
Linus Phillip, 30, was killed by a Largo police officer after he attempted to drive away at a gas station before an officer could arrest him after smelling marijuana in his car, according to authorities.
At the funeral home in Clearwater, Florida, the two detectives held the dead man’s hands up to the cellphone’s fingerprint sensor but failed to unlock it. The incident infuriated Phillip’s fiancee Victoria Armstrong, who felt “disrespected and violated.”
Largo police spokesman Lt. Randall Chaney said that the detectives were not required to have a search warrant, and legal experts mostly agree that what they did was legal. The police added that they got Phillip’s cellphone within a 48- to 72-hour period when they can access it using fingerprints.
But the move also sparked debate about whether using a corpse to unlock a phone was appropriate.
“While the deceased person doesn’t have a vested interest in the remains of their body, the family sure does, so it really doesn’t pass the smell test,” according to a professor at Stetson University College of Law. “There’s a ghoulish component to it that’s troubling to most people.”