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Prosecutors admit Dallas police lost massive amount of case data

Dallas County's district attorney says an unknown number of criminal cases are affected, but vows "justice will be served" in each case.

DALLAS (CN) — Prosecutors admitted Wednesday that Dallas police accidentally deleted 22 terabytes of case data from a network drive and the department has been unable to recover more than a third of it.

Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot made the disclosure in an “effort for full transparency” and to satisfy obligations under federal and state law to disclose certain evidence.

“We learned that 22 terabytes of DPD data were deleted over the course of a few days (March 31, 2021 – April 5, 2021),” Creuzot’s office said in a written statement. “Approximately 14 terabytes of data were recoverable, but approximately 8 terabytes remain missing and are believed to be unrecoverable.”

The size of the data loss is vast, as 8 terabytes holds approximately 52 million pages of documents or 250 standard definition movies.

Creuzot tweeted that he is in “constant communication” with Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia this week and they “are committed to ensuring that justice is served” in every case.

“It is possible that much of the missing evidence had already been uploaded to this office’s data portal prior to April 5, which would have a limited impact to cases,” Creuzot said. “At this time, it is too soon to estimate how many cases will be affected and what the impact will be on those individual cases.”

Dallas police declined to comment on the disclosure Wednesday, referring questions about the data loss to Dallas City Hall.

Prosecutors say the city became aware of the problem on April 5 when users noticed missing files. They say Dallas police have determined a range of affected cases with offense dates of before July 28, 2020.

“Additionally, this issue does not affect ‘direct file’ cases (i.e. cases without a detective, such as DWI, evading arrest and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon),” Creuzot’s office said. “Effective today, all prosecutors have been instructed to verify with the filing detective that all evidence/files were shared with our office via TechShare before disposing of the case. This requires the detective to compare the police department’s records to those maintained in TechShare, in order to confirm that all evidence gathered in the case is uploaded into TechShare or to determine if there are any missing files that DPD has not previously shared in TechShare.”

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