Gair, Gair, Conason, Rubinowitz, Bloom, Hershenhorn, Steigman & Mackauf is a New York Plaintiff's personal injury law firm specializing in automobile accidents, construction accidents, medical malpractice, products liability, police misconduct and all types of New York personal injury litigation.
Published on:

NYPD misconduct costed tax payers more than $500 million over the last 6 years including $115 millions last year

NYPD misconduct cost a lot of money to New York tax payersNew York City has expended over $500 million in police misconduct settlements over the past six years, with nearly $115 million disbursed in 2023 alone. An analysis, provided by the Legal Aid Society, not only quantifies the financial ramifications of these settlements but also underscores a systemic issue that demands urgent and comprehensive reform.

As a legal professional specializing in police misconduct, the figures presented are not just a testament to the financial burden on the city’s coffers but a reflection of deeper, more insidious problems within our law enforcement institutions. The rising median payout in these lawsuits, from $10,500 in 2018 to $25,000 in 2023, signifies an alarming trend in the nature and severity of misconduct allegations. It is indicative of a troubling escalation in the consequences of policing practices, particularly on marginalized communities disproportionately affected by these actions.

The backdrop to these settlements is a history of aggressive policing tactics from the 1990s, aimed at curbing the soaring crime rates but at a significant cost. The wrongful convictions from this era, predominantly impacting Black and Hispanic individuals, have left a lasting scar on the fabric of our community. The case of detective Louis N. Scarcella, whose dubious investigative methods led to the wrongful conviction of 14 individuals, is a stark reminder of the catastrophic impact one individual can have within a flawed system.

The settlements, while providing some measure of justice to the wrongfully convicted, are but a Band-Aid over a gaping wound. The case of George Bell, wrongfully convicted for a double murder and exonerated after more than two decades, exemplifies the profound personal and societal costs of these miscarriages of justice. Bell’s $17.5 million settlement, while substantial, cannot compensate for the years lost and the irreversible damage inflicted upon his life and that of his family.

Moreover, the increase in payouts related to the protests following George Floyd’s murder in 2020 further illustrates the pressing need for systemic reform. The $13.7 million settlement for the violation of protesters’ rights during the demonstrations is a sobering reminder of the critical juncture at which we stand in our pursuit of justice and accountability.

The argument put forth by Patrick Hendry, president of the Police Benevolent Association, that it is “unfair to use lawsuit payouts from decades-old cases as a measure of how New York City police officers are doing our job today,” misses the broader point. The legacy of past misconduct and the patterns that persist into the present day are reflective of a systemic issue that transcends individual cases or time periods. It is about a culture within law enforcement that has allowed practices that lead to these outcomes.

The Civilian Complaint Review Board’s report of a “significant increase” in complaints against police officers last year, reaching a 10-year high, is a clarion call for introspection and action. The administrative trials and lawsuits that drag on for years underscore a system struggling under the weight of its own bureaucracy and inefficiencies, further eroding public trust and confidence.

As we grapple with these issues, it is imperative that we move beyond mere financial settlements as a measure of accountability. We must seek to implement systemic reforms that address the root causes of police misconduct. This includes revisiting training protocols, enhancing oversight and transparency, and fostering a culture within law enforcement that prioritizes the dignity and rights of all individuals.

Rad more about NYPD settlements in the New York Times and Gothamist