New York Police Department Lawsuit Settlements in 2019
The New York City Police Department has settled many police misconduct cases. In 2017, the department paid out over $220 million in settlements. Fortunately, the number of claims declined in 2019 and the amount of money paid out dropped by 10%. The most common claim was the one against former NYPD officer Carlos Medina, a so-called “Bronx Rapist.” This case was the result of a 2016 Supreme Court ruling that overturned a long-standing precedent. The judge in the case found that the NYPD failed to train, supervise, and discipline officers, and he dismissed the suit.
Despite the recent scandal, New York City taxpayers are still paying out millions of dollars in alleged misconduct by NYPD officers.
The increase is primarily because the city has been limiting settlement payouts in frivolous lawsuits filed against the NYPD. In recent years, the city has also become more aggressive in defending its officers in NYCPD lawsuits. ProPublica reviewed the cases of five police officers and found that more than $22 million of taxpayer funds were paid to police employees.
The most recent case was a $250,000 False arrest/imprisonment/malicious prosecution settlement for a family of five. Three of the children were falsely arrested by NYPD officers, and the city’s Division of Child Services was forced to release heavily redacted records about the incident. Another recent settlement involved a 41-year-old Federal Reserve Bank employee falsely arrested by department store employees. A 34-year-old woman who suffered multiple ankle fractures at JFK airport was allegedly beaten by an intoxicated patron at a Manhattan nightclub.
These settlements are not without precedent.
A dental resident who was falsely accused of disorderly conduct and maliciously prosecuted for resisting arrest received a $350,000 settlement. Another woman whose boss choked her, resulting in an eye injury, received a $400,000 settlement. And a 31-year-old single mother who was falsely arrested by the NYPD, who was wrongfully detained for nearly two days.
The law department released the data on NYPD settlements in five-year increments. The settlements could include claims that were settled earlier in the year. The Office of New York City Comptroller reported that the NYPD settled prelitigation claims amounting to $21.8 million. But the data were incomplete and did not include any claims made by defending officers. The office of the Comptroller’s Office did not disclose the names of those officers.
A $500,000 settlement was awarded to a man who was falsely accused of prostitution by NYPD officers.
He was beaten by police officers, then falsely arrested by his girlfriend, who was then wrongfully imprisoned. Several NYPD lawsuits resulted in a large financial penalty for the officer. A restraining order has been granted in his favor, preventing the police from furthering their arrest.
The latest NYPD settlements represent a staggering $68 million in damages. While this represents a 76 percent increase over last year, it is important to keep in mind that the NYPD is under no obligation to settle any case. However, in some cases, the NYPD’s attorneys have chosen not to accept a settlement. This is the case in “the worst-case scenario” for a police officer.
NYPD settlements come from taxpayer money.
In 2006, the city’s Attorney General James filed a lawsuit against the NYPD because officers used excessive force against protesters. Her lawsuit sought systemic reforms for the NYPD and the city’s civil service, and an independent monitor to oversee the NYPD’s tactics. The suit may even result in a large payment. The City’s efforts to reform the New YorkPD’s internal structure are welcome.
Despite the high cost of NYPD lawsuit settlements, the number of claims against the department has decreased. In 2017, over $1 billion in NYPD misconduct cases were resolved, with a staggering 67 percent payout in wrongful conviction cases. By contrast, the first three months of this year saw a decrease of more than $430 million. During this period, the number of claims has decreased by about 50 percent.
The city has also settled misconduct lawsuits involving the NYPD.
More than 800 officers have been named as defendants in at least five suits. At least 50 of them were named as defendants in at least one settlement. Several of these cases have cost the city hundreds of millions of dollars. But some officers are still on the job after a settlement. In these cases, the city pays the plaintiffs. The lawyers have a hard time proving the allegations against the police.