by Douglas Ankney
After two years of being on the decline, misconduct suits against New York City’s Police Department (“NYPD”) are on the rise. In 2018, there were 1,586 claims filed compared with 1,391 submitted in 2017. There has been a downward trend since 2014 when 3,084 claims were filed.
NYPD officials said they are improving, citing a 48.5 percent decline in lawsuits between 2015 and 2018. Spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica McRorie said, “That reduction in volume of litigation gains the public’s trust and respect, thereby advancing the goals of neighborhood policing—to collaboratively solve problems with community members, drive down crime and enhance public safety.”
But Tina Luongo from the Legal Aid Society believes the uptick in claims is cause for alarm: “This reporting sheds some more light on the rampant problem of misconduct at the New York City Police Department. We hope that this reporting helps to further the conversation to revamp the NYPD’s current disciplinary process so that officers who commit these heinous crimes and who betray the public’s trust will receive more than a slap on the wrist.”
The city paid out $57 million in NYPD settlements in 2018, compared with $14 million in 2014. But in 2017, the most money was paid—$142 million—to settle high-profile cases from 2014 through 2016. In the past five years, the NYPD has cost the city $384 million in lawsuit damages.
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