Legal Aid Society analysis reveals alarming trend in NYPD misconduct payouts

The Legal Aid Society's analysis revealed that millions were paid out in civil lawsuits throughout the years, with 2023's total at $114,586,723.

Edric Robinson

Mar 21, 2024, 10:42 PM

Updated 22 days ago

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The Legal Aid Society's latest analysis exposes NYPD lawsuit payouts hitting a staggering $115 million just last year alone. Experts say not only is this costing taxpayers, but it also significantly impacts the city’s budget.
“These numbers cannot be brushed off as the cost of doing business,” said Jennvine Wong, supervising attorney at the Cop Accountability Project of the Legal Aid Society.
Wong highlighted the burden on taxpayers, noting payouts on NYPD alleged misconduct cases have been increasing. "The city had paid out the second-highest annual payout since 2018 this year, and in the past six years, the city has paid out over $500 million," she explained.
The Legal Aid Society's analysis revealed that millions were paid out in civil lawsuits throughout the years, with 2023's total at $114,586,723. Wong clarified that most civil lawsuits are resolved through settlement negotiations, meaning the city doesn’t have to admit any wrongdoing by the officer.
However, she says that despite these settlements, the money does not come out of the NYPD budget, leading to questions about the allocation of city funds. "This really points us to how we need to think about public safety and how city funds could be better used," she added.
Further examination of cases uncovered troubling patterns, with some officers involved in multiple settlements and still receiving promotions in rank. Wong provided an example, stating, "Officer Pedro Rodriguez was named as a defendant in at least three other lawsuits dating back to 2015, with another one currently still pending. The total amount of settlement payouts for just this one officer is $12 million."
“As long as NYPD leadership continues to allow these problematic officers to rise through the ranks and refuse to address this culture of impunity, our clients' majority are Black and brown community will continue to shoulder the consequences and the general public’s trust of the NYPD will continue to remain fractured,” Wong added.
News 12 New York reached out to the NYPD for comment regarding this analysis but did not receive a response at the time of this report.
Wong underscored the need for more oversight of the disciplinary system of the NYPD, stating, "It’s time the police department really opens up to transparency with regards to disciplinary records and their disciplinary processes themselves."


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