NYC Spent $230 Million On Police Misconduct In 2018. Taxpayers Paid The Bill

Written by Ann Brown
NYC has paid a whopping $384 million settling about 5,800 police misconduct claims in the past five years, according to the New York Post. New York City Police Academy graduates sit in formation with white gloved hands on their legs, during graduation ceremony for 457 new members of the NYPD, Thursday April 18, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

NYC has paid a whopping $384 million settling about 5,800 police misconduct claims in the past five years, according to the New York Post. More than 11,400 complaints were filed against New York City.

Some people on social media were shocked at the amount. Well-known DJ Stretch Armstrong tweeted: “NYC paid out $302,000,000 for police misconduct in 2017 alone. That is stunning.” But another responded, “Not that stunning. Should probably be more.”

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Thirty-seven of the cases were settled for $1 million or more, costing the city almost $190 million, the Post reported. Antonio Yarbough and the estate of Abdul Shariff Wilson — both were falsely convicted of three stranglings and stabbings that occurred in 1992 — received the largest sums. Both men were exonerated after DNA testing overturned their convictions in 2013.

A majority of the settlements made by NYC, however, were much smaller. According to records, more than 3,000 of the cases were settled for between $5,001 and $25,000. These amounts most likely stemmed from a night of imprisonment on charges that were eventually dropped.

“There’s a basic understanding that, for a night in jail, it’ll be approximately $20,000—sometimes less and sometimes more,” lawyer Jeffrey Rothman told the Post.

Across the country, police misconduct lawsuits are increasing — and in some cases have bankrupted police departments.

“When misconduct lawsuits start mounting, insurance companies can withdraw coverage. Without insurance, a single claim against a local police department has the potential to bankrupt a small municipality. As a result, cities in California, Illinois, Louisiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee have in recent years opted to disband their police departments after losing coverage,” Governing reported.

Police abuse continues to have racial undertones. U.S. police kill black people at disproportionate rates. Black people accounted for 31 percent of police killing victims in 2012, even though they made up just 13 percent of the U.S. population, according to an analysis of the available FBI data by Dara Lind for Vox. “Although the data is incomplete because it’s based on voluntary reports from police agencies around the country, it highlights the vast disparities in how police use force,” Vox reported in 2018.