'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.

Filed Under: lawsuits, new york city, nyc, nypd, settlements, taxpayers


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Bruce E (profile), 21 Nov 2019 @ 4:16pm

    Idle resources

    You know the trope of a school district with a classroom of idle (on-probation?) teachers who daily 'work' is sitting and passing time?

    I wonder if the NYPD assigns fine officers to useless make-work tasks thus wasting taxpayers' money?

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Nov 2019 @ 5:07pm

      I wonder if the NYPD assigns fine officers to useless make-work tasks thus wasting taxpayers' money?

      What do you think “stop and frisk” was to them?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2019 @ 6:31am

      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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 4:28pm

    Intimidating the evil, brown masses = priceless for the one percent.

    Did they tip?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 4:35pm

    NYPD - Needing Your Precious Dollars

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 4:47pm

    How close do you have to actually be to NYC to get in on some of that money?!!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 5:28pm

    there's an easy and simple solution

    Deduct settlements from the police retirement fund. When the police officers' bottom line for retirement is affected, they'll self police quite quickly indeed.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 21 Nov 2019 @ 5:46pm

    '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.

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

    • icon
      Wyrm (profile), 22 Nov 2019 @ 8:11am

      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.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2019 @ 10:40am

        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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Nov 2019 @ 6:12pm

    All settlement money should come out of the NYPD pension fund

    If you want to fix the bad behavior of the police, you need to take money from their pockets, not money that will never affect them. The thin blue line prevents accountability.

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 21 Nov 2019 @ 9:45pm

    It's worth it

    It's worth it to pay people off because these officers, um, do stuff and things. Excelsior!

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

  • icon
    mephistophocles (profile), 22 Nov 2019 @ 5:22am

    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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Nov 2019 @ 11:55am

    One vicious cycle

    Police are tasked with generating revenue for the cities as fines. But incur losses with settlement payments prompting cities to ratchet up police presence to boost revenue. Incurring more losses due to more settlements.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.