Both in New York City and across the United States, taxpayers are increasingly seeing public funds used to pay huge settlements and verdicts as a result of police misconduct, violence, and abuse. In 2014, the 10 American cities with the largest police departments spent $248.7 million on verdicts and settlements resulting from police misconduct. Those same 10 cities paid out over $1 billion for this type of case between 2010 and 2014. These costs divert money that could be used for additional police, better training, new equipment, or other unrelated services such as education.
Public outcry against police brutality has grown louder after high-profile cases such as the killings of Eric Garner, accused of selling loose cigarettes, and Akai Gurley, shot by a young officer in a stairwell as the result of what the officer called an accident. In light of this outcry, some people hope that police violence will decrease with better oversight and training.
As more people are carrying phones that can record video, police activity is increasingly being recorded, leading to useful evidence for both sides in cases where an officer is accused of misconduct. Similarly, as police departments are beginning to require officers to wear portable cameras, cities are seeing reports of misconduct drop. The cameras have the dual effect of keeping officers in line while preventing spurious claims from those only interested in money. The increase in video footage, however, often makes lawsuits viable for those alleging abuse, whereas before, it would have been their word against that of a police officer.
In New York City in 2014, the NYPD paid out $216.9 million to victims and their families — this number also includes money paid as a result of auto accidents, harassment claims, and other lawsuits unrelated to abusive conduct. Misconduct payouts alone were estimated at about $165 million
If you have been falsely imprisoned, beaten, or otherwise mistreated by law enforcement, you need an attorney who is not afraid to stand up to the NYPD. For more information on filing a claim against the city, meet with a respected New York police brutality lawyer at Rubenstein & Rynecki. Call us at (718) 522-1020 or contact us online to get started.