During the George Floyd protests, Minneapolis police destroyed case files.
It has been uncovered that officers in a Minneapolis police precinct destroyed papers during the rioting that occurred in summer 2020 following the killing of George Floyd.
After the Third Precinct headquarters was overrun by protesters and burned down on the other side of the city, officers in the Second Precinct in northeast Minneapolis destroyed a cache of documents, including inactive case files, search warrants, and records of confidential informants, according to the Star Tribune.
Officer Logan Johansson wrote in a memo that he and other Second Precinct detectives decided to delete the records shortly after May 28, 2020, to avoid sensitive material falling into the wrong hands.
It was a “direct response to Minneapolis city leadership’s abandoning of the Third Police Precinct,” Johansson wrote.
Although demonstrators did not target the Second Precinct, public defender Elizabeth Karp has asked a judge to dismiss the prosecution against her client, Walter Power, due to the decision to trash the files.
According to the newspaper, police executed a no-knock search warrant at Power’s rented home on April 28 and discovered about 3,000 pills of oxycodone and other substances. Power was eventually charged with selling drugs in the first degree, which is a felony.
However, Karp claimed in court records that police destroyed evidence that would have been important to her client’s case.
Karp stated that because “much, if not all, of the evidence relied upon” to search Power’s home were destroyed, he has no way of knowing how the warrants were obtained or if the searches were legitimately conducted.
“A defendant’s right to oppose an improper search is the main check on a Fourth Amendment violation,” Karp wrote. “Such a guarantee is meaningless if the state is free to erase evidence.”
Karp also urged Judge Todd Fellman to impose an order barring police from deleting or misplacing any additional evidence in Power’s case. On July 27, a hearing on the motion has been scheduled.
According to Minneapolis Police spokesperson John Elder, an internal investigation is ongoing to investigate what transpired at the Second Precinct.
“We’re conducting an internal investigation to learn more about what transpired at the Second Precinct, how choices were made, and if there were any broader issues with paperwork, records, or other information. This is a condensed version of the information.