Police misconduct lawsuits cost taxpayers millions, experts say

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Sunday, June 14, 2020
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Cities across the country spend millions of dollars each year settling police misconduct lawsuits, legal experts tell ABC News.

False arrests, civil rights violations and excessive force are just some of the claims made by civilians, costing taxpayers over $300 million in fiscal year 2019.

"The taxpayers are going to bear the brunt for the cost of police brutality," Sanford Rubenstein, a New York City-based civil attorney.

During fiscal year 2019, New York City paid out $175.9 million in civil judgments and claims for police-related lawsuits -- not including settlements made with the city's comptroller's office, said Nick Paolucci, a spokesman with the city's Law Department.

Of the 606 lawsuits filed against Los Angeles during the 2018-2019 fiscal year, 539 were against the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office.

And in Chicago, more than $85 million of taxpayer funds were used to settle police misconduct lawsuits in 2018 -- the highest amount since 2011 -- and an additional $28 million to outside lawyers to defend these cases.

Click here to read the full ABC News report.