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'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

Time to start sending out some customer satisfaction surveys to New York City residents. After all, they’re the ones paying for this. (via Boing Boing)

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 department is infamous for its suspicionless surveillance of Muslims, its suspicionless searches of hundreds of thousands of young black men, and the occasional homicide.

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.

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Comments on “'Give Til It Hurts,' Says The NYPD To City Residents While Racking Up A Half-Billion In Lawsuit Settlements In Two Years”

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15 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Idle resources

Yes, it is a common trope. It is usually used by one who is not in favor of the public school system. These types hardly ever acknowledge the inefficiencies found elsewhere in society and focus solely upon their target making it seem like a huge issue when it is not.

Of course leos slack off just like everyone else.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

'Not my money, not my problem.'

If Valentin’s shrug of indifference is indicative of the NYPD’s collective mindset, lawsuits are no deterrent to misconduct.

Of course they’re not, because the ones being sued aren’t the ones paying out. It’s trivial to ignore a fine, no matter how big it is, if you aren’t the one paying it.

Police should never have been shielded from personal responsibility, as very clearly a lack of punishments means a lack of incentive to not abuse the power and authority granted to them, all but ensuring a flourishing of corruption as they do whatever the hell they want, safe in the knowledge that they won’t pay a cent themselves.

Wyrm (profile) says:

Re: 'Not my money, not my problem.'

Actually, there are good arguments in favor of police immunity. However, there is a balance to strike that is very far from being achieved here.

On the one hand, you don’t want suspects to sue policemen and hold them personally liable anytime a conviction is not obtained.
On the other hand, you definitely want to hold cops personally responsible when they are breaking the law themselves, regardless of their good or bad faith belief that a crime was committed.

Currently the balance is so heavily stacked in favor of immunity / public responsibility that cops have no incentive to follow the law and policies that apply to them. Given the situation, only the morally best individuals will follow procedure. Everyone else knows that they don’t need to, that their hierarchy and unions and ultimately tax payers will cover for anything they do.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: 'Not my money, not my problem.'

"Actually, there are good arguments in favor of police immunity."

I agree, there is no reason to expect an officer to pursue a speeding vehicle (for example) when said officer would be charged with speeding themselves as a result. Therefore, immunity from the charges of speeding are granted to said officer in order to facilitate the apprehension of a person violating the local traffic regulation(s).
Providing the same officer with immunity relative to charges resulting from an unwarranted roadside body cavity search is a different story however.

mephistophocles (profile) says:

Settlement money source is the problem

Easy fix. From now on, take all settlement money out of officer salaries. Forget pension funds – that’s all out in the future. Make the consequences real, right now. Every time a suit is settled or lost, nobody gets paid until the settlement is paid in full.

I’ll bet that’d only have to happen once. After that Officer Shithead will be a hell of a lot more careful about skirting the law to get that big drug bust.

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