Dallas police improperly stored 52,000 digital files. The DA says he had no idea
Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot said he only learned about thousands of improperly stored police files following media reports this week.
The Dallas County district attorney on Thursday said he wasn't made aware of about 52,000 improperly categorized digital files at the Dallas Police Department until media reports earlier this week.
DA John Creuzot released a statement saying he's in talks with Police Chief Eddie García after a report from the The Dallas Morning News revealed the department may have violated a 2021 evidence law requiring police to provide all evidence when filing a case with prosecutors.
Dallas Police spokesperson Kristin Lowman said the department discovered the uncategorized files in November 2022. She added that notifications weren’t sent out because it was “internal audit and an administrative matter” and that no digital files were lost or deleted.
As of Thursday afternoon, Lowman said 13,000 files remain uncategorized.
“We continue to work to categorize all files on the system – both the ones that are uploaded daily – and the ones discovered by the audit - and ensure compliance by our department members," Lowman said.
While it has not yet been confirmed whether the files contained evidence that would fall under the law, Creuzot said the sheer number of files points to the possibility that some investigative material was not shared with his office.
"Of course, we would have and perhaps should have been made aware of this issue when it was initially discovered in November 2022, but since learning of the issue, I have come to understand these materials are believed to be more of an administrative nature rather than investigative," Creuzot said.
"However, due to the volume of uncategorized files, it is also possible that some contain investigative materials," he added.
The law in question is the Richard Miles Act, named after a Dallas man who was wrongfully convicted of murder in the 1994 shooting death of a man through the open sunroof of a parked car.
Miles was later freed after it was discovered the Dallas Police Department failed to provide attorneys with possibly exculpatory evidence.
The department, along with the city of Dallas, has had issues in recent years over the storage of police files. In 2021, the city fired an IT worker for deleting millions of files that contained case evidence.
Creuzot said the department has been told to send any improperly stored investigative materials to his office.
The department is also investigating a detective, Christine Ramirez, for failing to properly save video evidence.
"We owe the community our best efforts to ensure that justice is served on every allegation of criminal conduct alleged to have occurred in Dallas, Texas," Creuzot said.
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