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:
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.