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The cost of misconduct involving NYC law enforcement officials

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2020 | Police Brutality

New York City’s law enforcement officials have allegedly assaulted, harassed and falsely arrested numerous Big Apple residents without reasonable cause. While the number of payouts for lawsuit settlements reportedly increased, the volume of injury claims against the city has recently dropped.

As reported by the New York Post, taxpayers provided more than $68 million to settle claims against law enforcement officials during 2019. The amount, however, nearly doubled from the verdicts awarded in 2018; the cost to New York City’s taxpayers grew to more than $38 million.

How misconduct claims come about

The largest settlement — and a verdict of nearly $7 million — reached with the city came after a district attorney’s review of several cases resulted in the release of seven inmates. One of the wrongly convicted inmates who spent more than 20 years incarcerated sued the city.

A jury convicted the accused man of murder based on faulty evidence and sentenced him to life imprisonment. 23 years later, he successfully proved that a retired officer had planted invented evidence to frame him for a crime that he did not commit. While this case is an extreme deviation from the more common misconduct claims, several other cases resulted in payouts for excessive use of force, brutality and racial profiling.

Individuals harmed by misconduct may file a claim to recover medical expenses, surgical costs, physical therapy and rehabilitation. The time off required to heal, including loss of wages and pain and suffering, can provide ample cause for filing a legal action.

Length of time for a legal action

It may take several years for a lawsuit to make its way through the legal system and for the parties to agree to settle the matter. The number of new cases filed during 2019 was about 200 cases fewer than the number of cases residents filed in 2018. 10 of the top cases, however, retrieved more than $23 million in aggregate. The increased funds paid to victims of misconduct during 2019 may account for legal actions filed within the past five years.