The Legal Aid Society, a nonprofit legal services provider in NYC, has released a new report which reveals that the City has already paid over $50 million in alleged police misconduct lawsuits from Jan. 1 through July 28 of this year.
One of the most notable lawsuits in the report was an incident in 2020, involving two Brooklyn elected officials.
According to court filings, in May of that year, New York State Senator Zellnor Myrie and New York State Assemblywoman Diana Richardson both attended a racial justice protest in Brooklyn to voice their outrage against the history of police brutality against Black citizens.
During the protest, it is alleged that NYPD officers kettled the two officials, repeatedly rammed them with bicycles, and also pepper sprayed the pair.
Myrie took to Instagram the day after the incident, posting a photo that shows the state senator being allegedly arrested and detained by officers, while pepper spray poured down his face.
The two elected officials would end up settling with the City, with the lawsuit reaching a payout of over $400,000 in total.
This settlement was one of many that have already been documented this year, with lawsuits involving alleged police malpractice already reaching 461 as of July 28, the Legal Aid Society says.
According to the legal aid provider, NYPD misconduct payouts are on pace to hit around $100 million by the end of the year, which would surpass the yearly payout totals made between 2018-2021. Last year’s payout amount reached more than $130 million.
“In only seven months, the City has shelled out over $50 million to compensate New Yorkers who were brutalized by the NYPD, wrongfully arrested and detained, and more,” said Jennvine Wong, staff attorney with the Cop Accountability Project at The Legal Aid Society.
“This culture of impunity cannot continue, and we implore recently appointed Commissioner Edward Caban to prove to New Yorkers that NYPD will finally take the steps needed to truly hold officers accountable who infringe on the rights of our clients. Anything less will only perpetuate this suffering with taxpayers footing the bill.”