New York Police Department’s Misconduct Lawsuits Reach Sky-High Numbers
According to newly-released data, New York City has paid out $40 million in settlements to victims of police misconduct; just in 2019, which reflects a 50 percent increase compared to this time last year. This included such settlements as the one connected to the “Bronx rapist,” an individual who was arrested by the New York Police Department (NYPD) and who spent eight years in prison before being exonerated. Other settlements were linked to alleged use of excessive force, wrongful arrest, assault, malicious prosecution, and wrongful imprisonment.
The city has reportedly settled 72 percent of all the lawsuits filed against the police department this year. In 2018, New York City paid out a reported $230 million in connection with New York Police Department misconduct. According to those familiar with the department and these statistics, settlement figures each year reflect the fact that the New York Police Department is not doing enough to address misconduct. In fact, according to the report that was published by the Department’s own Inspector General Office (OIG), the NY police department is essentially rejecting suggested reforms every year, including those that are related to its use of force. Specifically, a review of misconduct records indicates that individuals connected with number of misconduct lawsuits are still employed and have not been disciplined.
Findings On Police Use of Force In New York
According to the above-cited OIG report, the NYPD’s use of force policies is vague and imprecise, providing very little guidance to law enforcement as to what constitutes force and when it is appropriate to be used, as well as what de-escalation tactics are more appropriate first. The OIG also took issue how the NYPD documents (or fails to document) incidents involving force, as well as how it fails to impose discipline even in the face of overwhelming evidence that excessive force has been used.
While the NYPD launched a small-scale pilot program to test the use of body-worn programs in 2014 (by a mere 54 officers), according to the OIG, officers exercised significant discretion regarding when the cameras could be activated, as well as overall officer compliance with camera policies, the ability for the public and even government to view footage, and when footage needed to be retained; indicating that there is arguably a serious reluctance to go about promoting accountability via body-worn cameras in New York City.
Contact Our Experienced New York Criminal Defense Attorneys
If you have been arrested in connection with police misconduct, you could end up being wrongfully convicted if you do not work with an aggressive criminal defense attorney. Contact our experienced New York criminal defense attorneys at the office of Phillip J. Murphy today for a free consultation to find out how we can help.