News10NBC finds proof after RPD rejects minority candidate

January 17, 2019 11:48 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) - A young man says his dream to be a police officer was shattered when Rochester Police didn't believe he was a minority.

News10NBC's earlier investigation showed the RPD and the city refused to accept the young man's AncestryDNA test as proof. 


However, News10NBC's Chief Investigate Reporter Berkeley Brean found proof in a government document that police and the city have not seen. 

In an adoption record from 25 years ago, Brean found proof that might help put Peter Abee's dream back together. 

Peter Abee, RPD candidate: "I was born in Bulgaria, came to America in '93. My mom, she's a single parent." 

Peter lived in an orphanage in Bulgaria until he was five. Peter says he has no idea who his biological parents are. 

Two years ago, he took an AncestryDNA test. The results say he's 51 percent Asian, Pacific Islander. 

News10NBC Chief Investigate Reporter Berkeley Brean: "So based on your AncestryDNA, you think your father is from India." 

Abee: "India." 

Brean: "And your mother is from where?"

Abee: "My mother is a nomad gypsy, so she could be from anywhere." 

Brean: "Did you take it because you ultimately knew you were going to try to be a police officer?" 

Abee: "Yes." 

So, when he applied to the RPD, he checked the Asian, Pacific Islander box.

That made him a minority candidate. But at his interview in November, Peter says an RPD official shut his case down.

Abee: "So, I asked him what the reason was and he told me we can't use my AncestryDNA as me proving that I'm a minority." 

Peter says the RPD told him to contact his parents and grandparents and get proof. 

Remember, he was an orphan. 

Abee: "So I asked him, 'how can I do that if I'm adopted? This is the reason why I took my AncestryDNA.'" 

Brean: "The city says those DNA tests are 'unauthenticated.'"

The city's statement is, "The most commonly accepted evidence to verify race and ethnicity is a birth certificate."

However, not even Monroe County birth certificates list race and ethnicity. 

And they haven't since the 1960s. 

In a statement, the city says it "does not state his race and/or ethnicity despite his assertion that he is of Asian descent."

But, Peter's adoption record from Bulgaria, when translated into English, says Peter is of "minority ethnic origin."

If Peter is considered a minority in Bulgaria, why isn't he a minority in Rochester? 

Brean: "What do you consider yourself?"

Abee: "I consider myself an Asian, Pacific Islander." 

The RPD's statement says Peter is still a candidate for police. 

But a voicemail to Peter from the RPD, that News10NBC listened to, told him his appointments are canceled. 

News10NBC is still trying to find out from the state if AncestryDNA results are acceptable proof.

We are also investigating to see if employers, including the City of Rochester, can even ask people for proof that they are a minority. 


Berkeley Brean

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