Suspicious? ‘Vast majority’ of Minnesota troopers purged email, texts after George Floyd protests

Suspicious? ‘Vast majority’ of Minnesota troopers purged email, texts after George Floyd protests

George Floyd’s death at the hands of convicted murderer and former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin sparked the wave of Black Lives Matter protests that touched most of the United States. The protests and calls for defunding of the police department were met by law enforcement agencies with violence. And while many media sites sought to paint the protests in a traditionally lazy and racist way as riots, video after video made it clear that the only real violence being participated in during the protests was initiated and conducted by law enforcement itself.

Subsequently, law enforcement agencies were sued by protesters and journalists for their use of excessive force. On Saturday, KSTP 5 reported that earlier this summer, during a hearing for ACLU’s lawsuit against Minnesota law enforcement Maj. Joseph Dwyer testified that the “vast majority of the agency” collectively purged a “vast majority” of emails and texts right after being sued. Dwyer told the court that “there was a purge of emails and text messages.” These digital communications were reportedly erased both manually and permanently. Dwyer, a Minnesota State Patrol member, defended this as “standard practice.”

This is quite a thing. It is truly an amazing “standard practice.” You don’t have to have a law degree or even an education beyond watching a single episode of Law & Order to know that getting rid of evidence after a possible crime is a crime itself. To be clear, Dwyer’s defense of this purge is not that anybody told him to do it, but that “it’s really a standard practice over the course of time that we remove, you know, delete text messages, delete e-mail messages.” Coincidentally, the “course of time” Dwyer and others selected for their obfuscation just happened to take place shortly after the ACLU sued them on behalf of journalists who were brutalized by Minnesota law enforcement.

Once again, Dwyer—who served as a commander of the Troopers’ Mobile Response Team during the protests in the summer of 2020—has the defense that he just happened to clean out his digital closet. ACLU attorney Kevin Riach had this exchange with Dwyer:

“So after a large-scale event, mass unrest, it’s your practice to delete all your e-mails?” Riach asked.
“I periodically delete my e-mails,” Dwyer answered, the transcript states.

The ACLU’s attorneys have pointed out the added coincidence that all of these individuals in Minnesota’s law enforcement apparatus decided now was the time to do some digital housecleaning is a hot garbage excuse—one that law enforcement officials themselves would call bullshit on if the shoe were on the other foot. 

“The purge was neither accidental, automated, nor routine,” ACLU attorneys wrote in a motion asking the judge to order the State Patrol to stop attacks on journalists covering protests. “The purge did not happen because of a file destruction or retention policy. No one reviewed the purged communications before they were deleted to determine whether the materials were relevant to this litigation.”

Dwyer’s testimony also included the revelation that officers are not “required” to retain email correspondence for any specified amount of time. Minnesota state Rep. Carlos Mariani tweeted:

The #mnleg and House l Public Safety comte I chair has lots of questions for our state patrol#mnleg @GovTimWalz @MnDOT @MnDPS_MSP

— Carlos Mariani (@Cmarianirosa) September 6, 2021

Dwyer was also unable to “remember” whether or not he had purged his emails and texts before finding out that “here was litigation” that would require him to hold on to said digital files or not. A Minnesota Department of Public Safety spokesperson told CNN: “The Minnesota State Patrol follows all state and agency data retention requirements. In addition, there is a litigation hold for all data related to this case. We are unable to comment further due to the ongoing litigation.”

For the Blue Lives Matter crowd out there that’s also usually the same crew as the “if you didn’t do anything wrong why won’t you just let police violate your rights,” this is a nice logic pretzel for them to unwrap. My guess is that many of them will unwrap it using invermectin.

From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.

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