A glitch in the city’s computer systems led to the loss of almost 2,300 dashboard-camera videos, authorities said.

Share story

Close to 3,000 Seattle police dashboard-camera videos were lost in July because of a computer glitch, including some that were to be used as evidence in various criminal investigations, city officials said.

The videos were erased when a computer error prevented footage recorded July 13-14 on police-cruiser dashboard cameras from being uploaded onto a long-term storage server, said Michael Mattmiller, Seattle’s chief technology officer.

Officials were able to recover 3,300 videos, but about 2,283 other video files were overwritten before city technicians noticed the problem, Mattmiller said. While the majority contained test footage from officers at the beginning of their shifts and low-level disturbance calls, officials estimate that 537 of the lost videos included evidence that was to be used in police investigations.

Also among the lost footage are videos of 89 arrests, 138 traffic citations and five of the lowest of police “use of force” incidents, officials said.

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said Tuesday she is unaware of any similar losses of police data in the past.

“When it was first discovered, we were hopeful we could recapture all of the video, but they recently determined that not to be the case,” she said.

How each case will be affected by the loss of corresponding video evidence remains unclear. O’Toole said she expects police investigations in those cases will proceed despite the loss of the video footage.

The error in the storage process has been identified and corrected, officials said.