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Atlanta police: Cyberattack erased dash cam archive

Chief Erika Shields said police body camera and other video is still available

Associated Press

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Police Department’s archive of dashboard camera video was wiped out in a March cyberattack, the police chief said.

The loss might compromise a drunken driving case, Chief Erika Shields told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV , but she’s not greatly worried.

“That’s a tool, a useful tool, for us,” she said. “But the dashcam doesn’t make the cases for us. There’s got to be the corroborating testimony of the officer. There will be other pieces of evidence. It’s not something that makes or breaks cases for us.”

Shields said police body camera and other video is still available, and she remains sure that files for criminal investigations remain.

But a Georgia State University law professor and a former Atlanta police investigator say the lost video concerns them.

“These days, cases are broken or they’re made on dashcam footage,” said Professor Jessica Gabel Cino, who specializes in trial procedure and forensic and scientific evidence.

Ken Allen, an Atlanta police union official and a retired police investigator, said video evidence is especially important if an officer’s involved in a collision or accused of using excessive force.

A police investigator told the city’s Civil Service Board during the week that 105,000 files on his computer had been compromised, including video of a police sting of a former employee fired for allegedly destroying an open records request.

Shields said only that investigator’s computer was scrambled, and she was told his criminal case files all were preserved on the city’s servers. She said other evidence supported the former employee’s firing, which is being appealed.