U. Florida Student: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

Suspect teeCops in Florida want the fingerprints and DNA of Philip Sandifer, a graduate student in U. Fla’s English program. His crime? Writing fiction murders on his blog. Dostoyevsky must be laughing in his grave right about now:

The university police at Gainesville’s University of Florida have targeted a graduate student in the English program over his publication of a piece of horror fiction on his LiveJournal. The police have repeatedly visited the student and demanded that he submit his fingerprints and DNA to them so that they can compare the fictional murder he described in his story to evidence from any similar unsolved murders.

Philip Sandifer is a graduate student in U. Fla’s English program, and keeps a personal creative writing journal called “Pulp Decameron,” where he posts very short stories in the styles of various pulp genres. The stories are released under a Creative Commons license. One story, I am Ready to Serve My Country, is a first-person account of a murderer who executes two victims before applying to the military.

On May 12, detective Sanders of the University of Florida police left him a voicemail asking him to contact her. This began a series of meetings and calls with the University Police in which detectives repeatedly pressured him to allow them to fingerprint him, so that they could compare his prints to evidence from unsolved murders. They cited his publication of the horror fiction as the reason.

Some people will rush to defend this type of intrusiveness by the police state we’re building, but to them I say: get naked. if you want to walk around without any clothes or semblance of privacy (a.k.a. essential liberties), then strip to your birthday suit and welcome our 5th amendment burning overlords. These scum of the earth are the same brain-dead morons who would eventually let thought-criminals (or fictional murder writers) be locked away for the protection of society.

As for Philip, I wish him luck and hope he gives the police just one fingerprint… his middle finger.

[image credit: Suspect Goods clothing]

Stephen VanDyke

I've published HoT along with about 300+ friends since 2002. We're all Americans who are snarky and love our country. I'm a libertarian that registered Republican because I like to win elections. That's pretty much it.

  1. The bigger question is why a university student would be so stupid as to give police fingerprints, etc. when he was not under arrest and did not have the advice of an attorney.

  2. Well, luckily for you you’re getting publicity – every time the police are embarrassed, they’ll be more inclined to stay within the bounds that are created for them.

  3. Okay, I’m a fiction writer, too.

    FAIRYTALE: Once upon a time, in campus police circles, memos circulated about campus shoot-ups that were foretold or forestalled due to postings in Blogland, and they set out to look for something similar on-line.

    They found the juiciest story by Phil.

    Phil documented everything and put it on the dust jacket of his first book.

    THRILLER: I wonder if I should burn my scripts? And libertarian stuff? I think there’s a copy of the LPNews in my recycling… no, I left it at Starbucks. Whew. I’ve got some Perry Mason novels, too. A murder in every one. Who knows what crime they think I might commit. In fact, there are some political signs stashed under my bed. I really must clean house before they get to my garbage.

    All my neighbors will say “she was so quiet” and describe me as “nice.” I don’t stand a chance.

  4. I would have shit, pissed, and barfed in every single one of my garbage bags and invited them to go thru it after adding some roadkill.

  5. Phil,

    Have you contacted the ACLU about this? Perhaps you could sue the police for harassment.

  6. Yeah, suing the police is SO effective. Maybe they’ll get suspension with pay!

  7. As for Philip, I wish him luck and hope he gives the police just one fingerprint”¦ his middle finger.

    The famous one finger salute….

  8. Well University of Florida is in Gainesville
    which is notorious for thug cops.
    I have never seen so many damn cops or arrests in
    my life–so this story was only a mild surprise.

    Philip, if they come again for some
    DNA I say you whip it out and shoot em right in the
    face with some “love juice.”

  9. “Snowspinner”/Phil Sandifer is no innocent, this is simply bad karma coming back to bite him in the ass…
    It’s all very easy to go “look at this guy he’s been abused by the authorities he’s standing up against the Man!” – but when you know what he’s like you wouldn’t. He *is* The Man on Wikipedia, and is responsible for a hell of a lot of corruption and nastiness there.

    Things “Snowspinner”/Phil Sandifer has done, and actions against him:
    “This page exists to keep tabs on Snowspinner’s (mis)behavior.”:




  10. Oh come on, if some lunatic wrote about his pedophile fantasies online, should the police not be concerned? Is murder any different?

    Sandifer himself doesn’t seem to be a particularly nice person. Looking at the links provided, he appears to spend most of his time abusing people online.

    This page ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Arbitration_Committee_Elections_January_2006/Vote/Snowspinner ) shows 177 (!) people feel he is an obnoxious power-tripper who “abuses administration powers”. Tough titties if it comes back on him.

  11. So if you have personality problems, it is ok for the police to demand fingerprints and DNA samples just because you write disturbing stories?

    Why didn’t the police get a warrant?

  12. Wikipedia strawmen, I hate to tell you, but Wikipedia isn’t real life – nobody cares what he does on there, most certainly not the police.

    In fact, coming on here to abuse him just makes it seem more likely in everybody’s eyes that you, in fact, were the one who called the cops on him – which might make you liable for libel/slander.

  13. I lived in Gainesville for a while. There are police everywhere (you can’t open your eyes without seeing at least one police car) and they are abusing their power. One gave me trouble for having a concealed weapons permit, even though I didn’t have a weapon on me and it would be perfectly legal if I did. Another cop illegally entered our house and searched it because we were having a party, even though we were not doing anything illegal.

    Although, now that I am in Chicago, Gainesville seems like libertarian heaven.

  14. Honestly, what I would do in that situation is provide them with cotton swabs that I provide for them, in front of them.

    Of course, said cotton swabs would have a priori be soaked through with hydrogen peroxide and window cleaner. Won’t kill you, tastes like absolute crap, and destroys all genetic evidence.

    And that’s what they get for trying to imply that publically posted fictional writings are sufficient evidence to create a suspect of cases yet to be determined.

    The very *concept* is vulgar. I don’t care if the person in question is the worst scumbag on the planet:

    It is precisely when our freedoms and rights are the most unpleasant that they matter the most. It is precisely those who state the things you hate that *MUST* be protected.

    Or else there is no such thing as freedom.

  15. I am a graduate of the Univ of FL … Gainesville is the southeastern bastion of modern liberalism/socialism. Violations of political correctness are not tolerated. I don’t miss that city or university one bit.

    currently living peacefully in the Allegheny Mountains