Sunday January 29, 2017

Police Department Loses Years Of Evidence In Ransomware Incident

If you have recently submitted a public records request for some of the Cockrell Police Department’s evidence, you are probably out of luck, as the agency has lost practically all of their files stored digitally since 2009. This includes body camera video, in-car video, in-house surveillance video, photographs, Microsoft Office documentsآ—you know, stuff that prosecutors and defendants may be interested in. Basically, someone at the agency clicked on the wrong link, and instead of paying up to have the files "unlocked," the department just decided to wipe it all.

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آ…"none of this was critical information." "Well, that depends on what side of the jail cell you're sitting," said J. Collin Beggs, a Dallas criminal defense lawyer who has a client charged in a Cockrell Hill felony evading case involving some of the lost video evidence. The lost evidence surfaced publicly Wednesday after Beggs questioned a Cockrell Hill police detective in a hearing convened before Criminal District Court Judge Dominique Collins to compel the department to explain why it had not turned over video evidence in his client's case. Beggs said he had been asking for it since the summer -- well before the hacking incident was discovered on Dec. 12. Beggs said the loss of video evidence is significant for his client and others charged in Cockrell Hill cases involving police video. "It makes it incredibly difficult if not impossible to confirm what's written in police reports if there's no video," Beggs said. "The playing field is already tilted in their favor enormously and this tilts it even more."