If you’ve ever imagined a scenario where police demand you unlock your phone and thought “Over my dead body!” — we have bad news for you. Here in our absurd dystopian future, having a phone means that upon your demise you could find yourself participating — limp and lifeless — in a legal search and seizure of your own digital property.
Police in Largo, Florida recently tried to use a dead man’s finger to open his phone. This was to the complete astonishment of his family and probably also staff at the Sylvan Abbey Funeral Home. Detectives just rolled right in with Linus F. Phillip’s phone and asked staff where his corpse was. They then attempted to unlock his phone by pressing his hands and fingers on to the fingerprint sensor.
The dead man’s fiance Victoria Armstrong told press, “I just felt so disrespected and violated.”
Mr. Phillip, an unarmed black man, was shot and killed outside a gas station after police claimed he tried to drive away during a search. His death was ruled a “justifiable homicide.” His family does not trust the investigation into his death.
“They were trying to open up that cellphone using a dead man’s finger,” the family’s attorney, John Trevena said. “That’s disgusting beyond words.”