'Give Til It Hurts,' Says The NYPD To City Residents While Racking Up A Half-Billion In Lawsuit Settlements In Two Years
from the $500-million;-zero-fucks dept
New York City taxpayers spent a whopping $230 million to pay off 6,472 lawsuits settled against the NYPD in the last fiscal year, according to an annual report released Monday by Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office.
The amount reflects settlements made from July 2017 through June 2018, and marks a 32% decrease from the prior year, when the city paid out $335 million for lawsuits against the police department.
This is the work of New York’s Finest — a police department that figures it’s the FBI, CIA, and NSA rolled into one. When not bumptiously interloping as the East Coast wing of Team America World Police, the NYPD is busy back home violating rights and blowing off public records requests.
The NYPD’s spokeswoman apparently has only read the parts of the report she likes. Sgt. Jessica McRorie says the 32% reduction in claims shows the NYPD is serious about deterring officer misconduct. But the overall drop in claims is counteracted by the NYPD’s 100% increase in police misconduct settlement payments over the past decade.
Roughly $108 million was related to allegations of police misconduct like false arrests and excessive force, more than doubling the $48 million paid out for such issues a decade ago.
No matter what spin is applied, the numbers speak for themselves. Since the middle of 2017, the city has paid out a half-billion dollars in settlements in lawsuits against the NYPD. The spokeswoman’s cheery spin on $233 million in settlements as an indication of officers behaving $100 million better than last year doesn’t say much about the force in general.
Granted, the amount of settlements will never reach $0, no matter the length of the timeline. But if the NYPD is serious about reducing misconduct and improving its relationship with the public, it can’t keep allowing things like this:
[Peter] Valentin, a hard-charging Bronx narcotics detective whose online handle is “PistolPete,” has been sued a stunning 28 times since 2006 on allegations of running slash-and-burn raids that left dozens of lives in ruins while resulting in few criminal convictions.
The city has paid out $884,000 to settle cases naming the stocky, 36-year-old detective, but he doesn’t seem too concerned.
“I’m not aware of that,” he scoffed at a Daily News reporter when told of his claim to shame. “Once it goes to court, I don’t follow it.”
This 2014 report showed 55 NYPD officers have been sued 10 or more times. If Valentin’s shrug of indifference is indicative of the NYPD’s collective mindset, lawsuits are no deterrent to misconduct. And neither are NYPD officials, even when they’re claiming otherwise when issuing statements or holding press conferences. The same people who defend misconduct by saying it’s just “bad apples” are the same people refusing to remove the bad apples from the barrel.
Being a repeat offender is bad news in every part of the criminal justice system except the component that initiates the process. Three strikes laws proliferate, exponentially increasing sentences for criminal violators. Meanwhile, those policing the streets are barely policed at all. Those that do manage to create enough headaches for their departments that they’re terminated can usually find steady law enforcement work at another agency.
The message being sent to the public by the NYPD isn’t the one its spokesperson is offering. It’s actually saying it doesn’t care how much of the public’s money it has to spend to keep bad cops employed.