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April 13, 2023
Evidence came out in a lawsuit showing that there was widespread removal of texts and emails from Minnesota police devices after the George Floyd protests, riots.
The lawsuit was filed by the Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and alleges that “Minneapolis Police Department and the State Patrol used unnecessary and excessive force to suppress First Amendment rights to cover the unrest last summer” (New York Post). This is just one of the many lawsuits against police departments last summer.
In this particular lawsuit, the ACLU is working to prove that the police actively went out of their way to silence the journalists covering the protests. During a recent court hearing, State Patrol Major Joseph Dwyer stated that “he and a “vast majority of the agency” deleted the communiqués after the riots,” (Star Tribune).
Representatives for the ACLU said that the widespread action leaves holes in the evidence and that “the purge was neither accidental, automated, nor routine,”. Additionally, one officer testified saying that members of the force are not required to keep texts and emails for any specified amount of time and that they are encouraged to purge messages after a big event.
However, Don Gemberling, spokesperson for the Minnesota Coalition on Government Information, a nonprofit organization, stated that under the Minnesota Data Law, the State Patrol is responsible for keeping and maintaining records, making the practice of erasing texts and emails illegal. The testimonies have raised several questions, leaving evidence and explanations murky.
ARTICLE: RITA VOGT
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: DAILY ADVENT