State Patrol disputes accusations of deleting critical records after riot

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Lawyers for the state say they plan to ask a judge for a protective order that would stop the ACLU from disclosing information to the press about its lawsuit alleging law enforcement assaulted journalists.
In a new court filing, the state Department of Public Safety disputes claims that Minnesota state troopers purged critical records to intentionally obscure the behavior of law enforcement's response to last summer's riots.

The state agency also plans to ask a judge to issue a protective order that would stop attorneys for Minnesota's chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union from making statements to the press about their lawsuit, which alleges that troopers targeted and assaulted journalists during the unrest in violation of the constitution.

The brief comes in response to allegations leveled by the ACLU earlier this month. In court documents and a news release, attorneys for the ACLU cited testimony from State Patrol Maj. Joseph Dwyer as evidence of the destruction of e-mails and text messages. In a transcript, Dwyer said he and likely a "vast majority of the agency" deleted the records after the riots.

Lawyers for the state now say Dwyer was only speculating about the other officers in his testimony. They acknowledge Dwyer did permanently delete text messages, but the attorneys say the troopers only "soft deleted" the e-mails, which means they still exist. Knowing the ACLU's lawsuit had been filed, the state placed a "litigation hold" on records starting June 8 to ensure…
Andy Mannix
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