Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields

Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields

In March, hackers attacked Atlanta’s computer network. They held data hostage for a $51,000 ransom, which the city didn’t pay.

The group SamSam was identified in the ransom note. It’s known for choosing targets with weak security and high incentives to regain control of their information.Atlanta Police Department dashcam footage was lost after hackers attacked the city's computer systems in March.

The city of Leeds, Alabama, paid ransomware attackers $12,000 to release data in February, GPB News previously reported.

Now the losses in Atlanta — including video from police dashcams — are becoming clearer.

Hackers deleted years of footage from patrol car dashcams, which record police traffic stops, Chief Erika Shields told WSB-TV.

Shields didn’t say what this means for use of force investigations, where officer conduct is of concern. The department didn’t immediately respond to questions from GPB News about how many cases could be affected, and how much footage was lost.

Carlos Campos, a spokesman for the police department, said while these cases should be considered on a case-by-case basis, additional evidence, such as cellphone video from bystanders, is usually available.

DUI cases, however, may be affected by the lost dashcam footage. The visual evidence is highly influential to juries, Campos said.

RELATED: Vulnerabilities Revealed After Atlanta Cyberattack

There has been no comment made about how far back the lost dashcam archives go.

The city also hasn’t responded to an open records act request about how it prepared for cyber threats, how often departments backed up critical data, or what procedures were in place for safeguarding data stored locally. 

More than 5 $million has been spent to deal with the ransomware attack and rebuild computer systems in Atlanta.