Q: What if cops took my cell phones & illegally erased videos (evidence) from my phones WITHOUT A warrant
Illegal? Absolutely. Can you prove it? Maybe. It would require a previous backup to show what was there and a forensic examination of your phone to determine what was removed and when. You would need to be able to show that when the file was erased the phone was in police control.
The bigger question is: does it matter? If you have been charged with a crime and they destroyed exculpatory evidence, it certainly does. If you were merely being harassed and have not been charged with anything, not nearly as much. It is insulting and illegal either way, but absent a prosecution, neither you nor anyone else is going to go to the expense of trying to prove that it happened. (By the way, there is no such thing as a warrant to destroy evidence. If law enforcement obtains property, with or without a warrant, they are obligated to preserve it absent a court order to the contrary. Such court orders are normally only issued if the property is dangerous (weapon, drug).)
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