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NYPD Settles Case In Which It Arrested Guy For Recording Stop And Frisk, Pays $125,000

from the finishing-all-the-city's-business dept

In yet another case in which police illegal arrested someone for filming the police, the police have been forced to pay up. Unlike the big Simon Glik case, it appears that the NYPD (under new management!) decided to do its best to settle the case and get it off the books. They're paying $125,000 to Dick George, who recorded police doing one of its infamous stop-and-frisks. According to George's lawsuit, not only did the police arrest George and delete the photos from his camera (after he told the kids who were stopped and frisked to get the cops' badge numbers next time), the police flat out knew what they were doing was illegal -- telling George to sue the police:
“Now we’re going to give you what you deserve for meddling in our business and when we finish with you, you can sue the city for $5 million and get rich, we don’t care,” Lt. Dennis Ferber said, according to the suit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court.
Not surprisingly, the new mayor and new police chief didn't want this case to go very far, and got George to agree to a $125,000 settlement. Will victories like this get police to stop these kinds of things? Doubtful, but it's still good to see.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 20th, 2014 @ 6:46am

    Not surprisingly, the new mayor and new police chief didn't want this case to go very far, and got George to agree to a $125,000 settlement. Will victories like this get police to stop these kinds of things? Doubtful, but it's still good to see.

    Is so much as a penny of that settlement coming out of the pay of the officer in question? Will his pay be docked to pay for the settlement amount? His pension? Will the precinct he's from be paying any of that amount such that it will require budget cuts elsewhere as they suddenly find themselves $125K short? Will his union be paying out?

    If 'no' to the above, then such settlements aren't going to do squat to get police to stop harassing people that record them, because why should they care, the public is the one footing the bill in the end.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Ninja (profile), Aug 20th, 2014 @ 7:46am

    If the cops were using cameras themselves...

    Also, if the involved cops were actually punished for misconduct...

    Utopia?

     

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  3.  
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    Glen, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 8:13am

    If the cop was responsible for that amount, I would think cops would start to back off. Too bad that will never happen.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 8:18am

    Not Their Money

    "... you can sue the city for $5 million and get rich, we don’t care..."

    Of course they don't care, it's not their money. In fact, they're part of the force that will be used to take the money from others.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
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    Baron von Robber, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 8:30am

    "“Now we’re going to give you what you deserve for meddling in our business and when we finish with you, you can sue the city for $5 million and get rich, we don’t care,” Lt. Dennis Ferber said, according to the suit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court."

    That should, in the very least, now be former Lt. Dennis Ferber, if the was any justice.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 8:37am

    No, no it won't

    Will victories like this get police to stop these kinds of things? Doubtful, but it's still good to see.

    It is taxpayer money being payed, it is not coming out of the offending cop's pockets. Now fire the cops and thing will change.

     

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  7.  
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    RailRuler (profile), Aug 20th, 2014 @ 8:41am

    Such naivete

    This has been going on for years. Rights are violated, lawsuit is filed, the city settles it for peanuts, and nothing changes. Some members of the city council publicly grumble about how much is being paid out in settlements, but they don't have any power. The mayor supposedly appoints the police commissioner, but the choices are limited.

     

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  8.  
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    Michael, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 8:41am

    Re:

    Well, that is according to the suit. We don't really know if that is what was said.

    It's almost a little sad that the case doesn't go further so we could actually know, but $150k of taxpayer money rather than several million is certainly not the worst decision they could make.

     

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  9.  
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    AnonCow, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 8:42am

    Pay the settlement out to the NYPD pension fund and these abuses will stop immediately.

     

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  10.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 20th, 2014 @ 8:45am

    Re: Re:

    Well, that is according to the suit. We don't really know if that is what was said.

    If only there was some recording of the exchange...

     

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  11.  
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    Padpaw (profile), Aug 20th, 2014 @ 8:58am

    The money might be nice, but now he is in for a lifetime of police intimidation and harassment. Since he dared to make them pay for their illegal actions, and they don't like that.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 9:02am

    Police-abuse lawsuits are so common that many cities have a budget and/or insurance for it -- paid for by taxpayers.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 9:08am

    125k?

    Seems odd, when the police officer himself said it was worth 5 mil.

    One thing to keep harping on is how much cheaper body and dash cams are than these settlements.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 9:19am

    it won't stop until cops start losing their jobs, and they have the union to help them with that... maybe people should start suing the UNION for allowing these cops to stay on the force, and THEN sue for money. Some people have their priorities....

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 9:50am

    $125,000? Why that's less than a single infringement of Hollywood's copyright.

     

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  16.  
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    Michael, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 9:54am

    Re: Re: Re:

    We don't need one, the officer's account of the incident is more reliable anyway...

     

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  17.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Aug 20th, 2014 @ 9:59am

    Re:

    I disagree. Cops will think twice because he is the kind of citizen that will follow through with legal action.
    -
    I'd have that judgment taped to the back window of my car... give the piggies a little reading material before they approach me.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 10:47am

    Of course the cops don't care it's the citizens who are paying this settlement out with their tax dollars.

     

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  19.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 20th, 2014 @ 10:50am

    Re:

    But they do is the settlement has to be paid out of their budget.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 11:00am

    Re:

    I don't think the cop should be responsible for the amount; this could lead to all sorts of nasty situations.

    However, his precinct should be on the hook for that amount. Doing things at this level would get the problem cleaned up in short order. Of course, it would also provide incentive for the entire precinct to cover up incidents like this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 11:03am

    Re: Not Their Money

    Still legit though. The People paying the taxes are JUST AS RESPONSIBLE! They voted them in and do nothing to advance candidates that will change this crap!

    I hate this "not their money" BS when it comes to the state having to pay out settlements.

    If YOU citizens are tired of having your taxes pay for this stupidity get on off your damn duff and run against the assholes doing it, until then, STFU or support someone who will!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 20th, 2014 @ 11:11am

    Re: Re: Not Their Money

    I literally could not agree more.

    In the end, we, the citizens, are responsible. That the settlements hurt the taxpayers isn't a bug, it's a feature.

    To paraphrase an old quote, find the amount of oppression that people will tolerate and you've found the amount of oppression they will have.

     

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  23.  
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    Crazy Canuck, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 12:21pm

    Looks like the Mayor may have found a way to stimulate job growth. Now a bunch of people can start walking around with cameras filming police. When they are harassed or assaulted by police, these people can sue/settle for money. What a way to lower unemployment! =P

     

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  24.  
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    Crazy Canuck, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Re:

    To which they reply "Terrorism! 9/11!" and get their budgets increased...

     

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  25.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 20th, 2014 @ 12:27pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    And that's where we, the public, gets some blame. This probably varies from state to state, but where I live, police departments have to go to the voters to get their budgets increased.

    Interestingly enough, police departments have been having an increasingly difficult time getting voters to approve their funding proposals.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
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    ECA (profile), Aug 20th, 2014 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re:

    Dear AC,
    so you think that Every tax payer should pay for the idiots?

    I still say that there is a concerted effort to bankrupt most cities and towns.
    Other wise the only reason for these persons to be hired... Is because they like IDIOTS..

     

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  27.  
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    Everett Edwards, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 3:45pm

    What kind of 'reporting' is this? The NYPD didn't "settle" ** shit **.

    It's the Corporation Counsel of NYC that handles the lawsuits.

    This is an important distinction for all sorts of reasons that should be obvious.

    If you're going to write about the law and judgements etc, whatever the issue, perhaps ya'll should understand the PROCESS.

    The Corporation Counsel operates under the direction of the Mayor-- thus their freqeunt scumbag behavior under Giuliani and Bloomberg-- but NYPD...

    Didn't "settle" anything!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 5:37pm

    This amount will add up after time , then maybe layoffs are in order.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 20th, 2014 @ 9:41pm

    Re: Re: Not Their Money

    Yes, because obviously people running for public office make sure to tell the public what their real stances on topics are, rather than what they think the public want to hear, and so when public officials and/or police do stuff like this it's completely the fault of the public for not having known it sooner. /s

    I've asked this before, and I still have yet to get a satisfactory answer, but why exactly do some people have a complete and utter aversion to public officials being held personally accountable for their actions? It's always 'it's the fault of the taxpayers for not knowing better/doing something, lets punish them', never 'lets punish the one who actually committed the crime'.

    If someone assaulted another person, and was ordered to pay the medical fees and a punitive fine, they would be the ones on the hook for paying that money out, because they are the one responsible. And yet suddenly when a public official does something wrong/illegal all that responsibility is re-directed to the public, and they get off without having to pay a cent? How does that make sense?

    In fact, I'll even give you this: I agree that the public shares some blame for the rotten system we've got.

    When they re-elect people who have shown themselves to be corrupt or self-serving, at best it was because the other choice was worse, in which case the public's responsibility is decreased somewhat, because their hand was forced, but more often it's due to apathy and disillusionment, where people simply don't think they can do anything to fix the problem and so don't even try. In that case, the public gets what they give. They don't bother to try and fix the problem, so it remains broken.

    Now, even given all of the above, why should a public official, whether political or police, not be made to pay, personally, for their actions? At most, the blame is shared, where the public is guilty of apathy or indifference to a corrupt system and don't care enough to fix it, but the official/officer is still responsible for what they've done.

    In that case, split the payment, half using taxpayer dollars, and half paid directly by the responsible person/party. Insisting that the public pay all of it is ridiculous, as it means the one who actually committed the crime gets away without any punishment at all, and provides absolutely no incentive for them not to do the same wrong/illegal actions again in the future.

     

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  30.  
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    Coyne Tibbets (profile), Aug 20th, 2014 @ 10:03pm

    Re:

    It never ceases to amaze me that we citizens continue to be willing to pay for the cops to violate our rights.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
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    Coyne Tibbets (profile), Aug 20th, 2014 @ 10:09pm

    Re: Re:

    I agree with Glen. I think the law should make the officer responsible for violations of rights; perhaps not the whole amount but, say, limited to 1% or $10,000, whichever is less.

    As it is, it's just good fun for the cop to watch the taxpayers get punished for his abuse.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 21st, 2014 @ 12:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Of course, then the cops can just slack off even more when responding to real crimes. As soon as one bad incident conveniently gets mentioned in the press, they simply blame the taxpayers for underfunding them.

    It's a no-win situation: we get blamed for our failure to rein in the police, or we get blamed for preventing them from fighting crime. (Similar to politicians being afraid restraining the NSA because of the risk of getting blamed for the next terrorist attack...)

    As an example, I don't think the people of Ferguson had much choice about who was patrolling their streets. Lack of money, sway in the greater StL MSA's politics, and even basic hope left them with only one choice. Wait for a trigger event, and create something that the media simply couldn't ignore.

     

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  33.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 21st, 2014 @ 5:00am

    Re: Re: Re:

    How about 'whichever is more' instead, the whole point of those fines is punishment and deterrents, they're supposed to hurt, not be something that can be easily shrugged off.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
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    WysiWyg (profile), Aug 21st, 2014 @ 6:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Not Their Money

    Haven't "the public" already been punished though? Isn't the behavior of the police enough?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 21st, 2014 @ 8:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Not Their Money

    "why exactly do some people have a complete and utter aversion to public officials being held personally accountable for their actions?"

    I don't see anyone here who has such an aversion.

    Public officials who act illegally absolutely should be held accountable for their actions. They should be prosecuted and if found guilty be punished.

    These fines aren't that, though. The fines are to hold the police department itself accountable. Therefore, the department should feel that pain.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
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    Austin (profile), Aug 21st, 2014 @ 12:00pm

    Wanna stop this?

    Then make the verdict come out of the officer's own salaries. The city should not be paying for the mistake of 1 or 2 cops, especially when their "mistake" isn't even in line with internal department guidelines, much less the law the rest of us have to follow.

    So divert 50% of the officers' salaries towards paying this verdict. As soon as it costs the officers more than a light slap on the wrist when they pull stunts like this, it will stop immediately.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
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    Zonker, Aug 21st, 2014 @ 4:13pm

    Re:

    Why is it that the states have no problem taking $18 million out of pensions to pay Disney to film "Oz The Great And Powerful" in their state, but when it comes to lawsuits against their police departments they can't use police pensions to cover a $125,000 (much less than the $5 million they don't care about) settlement?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    k, Aug 21st, 2014 @ 4:36pm

    Re: NYPD responsibility

    Your absolutly right! It won't do squat unless it comes to individual responsibility is upheld to the officers! It should not come out of the city's pocket!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 21st, 2014 @ 8:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not Their Money

    More often than not though the only punishment is the fine, and while some jail time would be nice for those that abuse their positions for personal gain or enjoyment, until that enters the equation I see nothing wrong with the one who commits the crime paying out of their own pocket as punishment.

    If the fine is meant to punish the department, then split it, say 25/75 between officer and department, don't just dump all of it on the department.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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