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City Paid Over $500M in Police Misconduct Suits in 6 Years

In 2023, the city reportedly paid more than $114 million in settlements, the second-highest total over the past six years.
NYPD, police, police car
Photo: Joi Ito/Wikimedia

A new report from justice advocate group The Legal Aid Society revealed that New York City paid out about half a billion dollars in alleged police misconduct lawsuits.

Over the past six years, it is estimated that taxpayers have had to pay almost $550 million in lawsuits, a total that the group said could be even higher on account of cases that are settled with the New York City Comptroller’s office prior to formal litigation, according to a news release.

The city reportedly paid more than $114 million in settlements for over 800 cases during 2023, the analysis found.

The 2023 payout total was the second-highest amount recorded since 2018, behind 2022’s $135 million settlement accumulation — the only two years over a six-year span to record over $100 million in city payouts.

Among the highest-contributing cases highlighted in the report included an incident in which a man was wrongfully jailed for two years following a robbery charge that two NYPD officers allegedly fabricated, leading to a payout of over $3.5 million; as well as an alleged situation in which a cop wrongfully arrested a man using force and not identifying himself as an officer initially, causing the city to payout almost $1.7 million.

Pricey cases like the ones listed above led to a 2023 median payout of $25,000, a total that has been trending upwards every year since 2018, back when the median amount only reached $10,500, said the report.

“The staggering amount of money taxpayers have to foot each year to cover alleged NYPD misconduct truly shocks the conscience, and this should enrage all New Yorkers,” said Jennvine Wong, staff attorney with the Cop Accountability Project at The Legal Aid Society. 

“These payouts, which now total more than half a billion dollars since 2018, are indicative of a system that both refuses and fails to hold offending officers accountable. Rather than investing into public services and social safety nets, taxpayers are continually forced to cover the costs of violent policing.”