Thursday, July 16, 2015

Cost of Police-Misconduct Cases Soars in Big U.S. Cities

Data show rising payouts for police-misconduct settlements and court judgments

By Zusha Elinson and Dan Frosch, WSJ
July 15, 2015 10:30 p.m. ET

The cost of resolving police-misconduct cases has surged for big U.S. cities in recent years, even before the current wave of scrutiny faced by law-enforcement over tactics.

The 10 cities with the largest police departments paid out $248.7 million last year in settlements and court judgments in police-misconduct cases, up 48% from $168.3 million in 2010, according to data gathered by The Wall Street Journal through public-records requests.

Those cities collectively paid out $1.02 billion over those five years in such cases, which include alleged beatings, shootings and wrongful imprisonment. When claims related to car collisions, property damage and other police incidents are included, the total rose to more than $1.4 billion.

On Monday, New York City agreed to a $5.9 million settlement with the estate of Eric Garner, whose death after being put in a police chokehold last summer sparked widespread protests.

City officials and others say the large payouts stem not just from new cases, but from efforts to resolve decades-old police scandals. In 2013 and 2014, for example, Chicago paid more than $60 million in cases where people were wrongfully imprisoned decades ago because of alleged police misconduct.

(More here.)

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