MINNEAPOLIS (AP/WCCO) — Court testimony shows that the Minnesota State Patrol purged emails and text messages immediately after protests over the death of George Floyd during which the agency is accused of targeting journalists.

Attorneys for the Minnesota chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union say the purge of messages has made it nearly impossible to track the State Patrol’s behavior, as investigators try to determine whether law enforcement used improper force on demonstrators.

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The information came out during a July 28 hearing in a lawsuit that alleges the State Patrol targeted journalists. A transcript of the hearing was posted on the court docket on Friday.

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State Patrol spokesman Bruce Gordon says officers follow all data retention requirements.

The lawsuit, by freelance journalist Jared Goyette and organizations such as ACLU-MN, against commissioner of Public Safety John Harrington, Matthew Langer, and former MPD union head Bob Kroll, says law enforcement officers fired projectiles and tear gas at journalists, arrested them, and interfered with their ability to report on the events during the protests.

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