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Media Pounces on False DNA Link to OWS Protests, Student's Murder

Common Dreams staff

Corporate media outlets spent Wednesday headlining shocking news: the New York Police Department had found DNA that linked the Occupy Wall Street protests to an unsolved 2004 murder.

NBC New York reported, “forensic evidence from the 2004 murder scene of a Juilliard student” named Sarah Fox has been linked to “the scene of recent Occupy Wall Street subway vandalism.” DNA on a CD player found at the crime scene matches “DNA found on a chain left by Occupy Wall Street protesters at the Beverly Road subway station in East Flatbush on March 28, 2012.”

But now, the corporate media's anti-Occupy movement narrative seems to have hit a major snag.

The New York Times is reporting late Wednesday afternoon:

The DNA match that suggested a possible link between the unsolved killing of a Juilliard student in 2004 and a chain recovered at the site of an Occupy Wall Street protest in March was the result of a laboratory error, a person briefed on the matter said on Wednesday.

The DNA that investigators initially believed was recovered from skin cells on the slain woman’s portable compact disc player and from the chain found after the March protest came from a laboratory supervisor at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the person said.

“The O.C.M.E. tainted the samples and it was the O.C.M.E. supervisor’s whose DNA was on both,” the person said.

But Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the Medical Examiner's Office, denied that the DNA had come from laboratory personnel.

The Medical Examiner’s Office maintains a database of employees’ DNA for the purpose of eliminating such errors.

OWS activists, meanwhile, were furious the movement had been linked to the homicide -- and indignant that DNA was used to find out who propped open the subway gate March 28.

"Obviously it's a terrible murder, but the story here is really the NYPD rubbing for DNA on some chains at a peaceful Occupy Wall Street demonstration,” said Ed Needham, a member of the press-relations team for OWS.

"That's a lot of resources to give to something when there's so many other things in this city that need such desperate resources.”

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