MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Court testimony shows that the Minnesota State Patrol purged emails and text messages immediately after protests over the death of George Floyd, during which the agency is accused of targeting journalists.
Attorneys for the Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union say the purge of messages has made it nearly impossible to track the State Patrol's behavior, as investigators try to determine whether law enforcement used improper force on demonstrators.
The information came out during a July 28 hearing in a lawsuit that alleges the State Patrol targeted journalists.
According to the Associated Press, on July 28, State Patrol Maj. Joseph Dwyer said during his testimony that communications were deleted by himself and a "vast majority of the agency."
A transcript of the hearing was posted on the court docket on Friday.
State Patrol spokesman Bruce Gordon says officers follow all data retention requirements.
The AP reported that the lawsuit was filed against the Minneapolis Police Department and the State Patrol because the agencies allegedly used "unnecessary and excessive force" on journalists who were there to cover the unrest.
During his testimony, Dwyer said no one ordered the troopers to delete the records but that it was “standard practice” for them to do so, the AP reported.