MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The failure of a videotaping system used by the Milwaukee Police Department leads to the loss of key pieces of evidence. Those lost interviews could compromise some court cases -- and although the problem happened back in January -- city leaders were just made aware of it.
"What we are finding out right now is somebody knew," said Milwaukee Alderman Joe Davis. "And I'm asking that the Public Safety Chairman Terry Witkowski hold a hearing and subpoena those who may have known so the council can be fully briefed on how is this going to impact the city of Milwaukee's long-term public safety issues?"
Mayor Tom Barrett is less troubled by the missing data.
"I have been briefed. It's my understanding they are working on a solution for this," said Barrett. "They feel confident they are going to recover the data and that's what's important. They recognized there was a problem. They are working with it."
Milwaukee police issued a statement saying the vendor is recovering the data -- and that's almost complete. The statement, posted to MPD's website, reads as follows:
"The Milwaukee Police Department uses the MediaSolv system for recording prisoner interviews. The data stored on that system became inaccessible in early January 2015 due to a hardware malfunction and has been sent to a data recovery vendor for repair. The vendor reports the recovery is nearing completion. The Milwaukee Police Department is not aware of any cases that have been compromised by this malfunction. The District Attorney’s Office is aware of those cases where the data will not be available until the recovery is complete. Funds have been allocated for both the hardware repair work currently underway and the installation of a backup server to reduce the likelihood of future malfunctions. Earlier this year, the Milwaukee Police Department provided the following information to its members regarding the malfunction of the MediaSolv system."
CLICK HERE to for further information posted on MPD's website.
Meanwhile, Attorney James Toran says this system failure is a problem for the courts. Toran says without videotaped interviews, some case details can't be verified. It's happening in a number of cases, including that of Darmequaye Cohill, who is charged in connection with the shooting death of 13-month-old Bill Thao.
"The police can say the defendant made this statement. The defendant can say, 'I didn't make that statement.' Now we have nothing to play back to verify who is telling the truth," said Toran.
Police did say new cases are not affected by this system failure.