Monday, October 18, 2010

NYPD Misconduct Remains Costly

In December 2009, we focused on the enormous costs NYC residents face as a result of NYPD misconduct. Last week, we learned that poor leadership is a key component of those high costs.

Misconduct and Rising Costs

As we discussed in December 2009, the NYPD misconduct record is both shameful and expensive.

Not only had the level of payouts in lawsuits related to NYPD misconduct risen every year of the Bloomberg mayoralty, but the level of payout had more than doubled from Bloomberg's first mayoral term to his second term, reaching a high of $120 million .

Back in November 2009, we learned that a Federal Judge in Brooklyn had confirmed what had long been speculated: The NYPD has a practice and a culture of falsely accusing innocent people of crimes and of testifying falsely under oath in court.

These two pieces of information were combined with Mayor Bloomberg's stubborn determination to set records for stop and frisking innocent people of color in our city to paint a picture of out of control and ugly leadership in law enforcement in our city.

Nearly a year later, the story doesn't seem to have improved.

NYC the Worst Major City In Terms of Costly Police Misconduct

Last week's information about the costs of NYPD misconduct are consistent with the disappointing statistics we discussed in December 2009 and reinforce the identifiable cause of the high costs as poor leadership.

Our city has paid out nearly $1 billion to victims of NYPD misconduct over the last ten years.

Adjusted for population, NYC paid out as much as any large city in the US over the last 10 years for its police, and yet NYC refuses to adopt an approach that will minimize the abuse of its residents by law enforcement.

That refusal makes NYC unique and demonstrates the cost of having a leader like Mayor Bloomberg who arrogantly promotes abuse of the residents of color in our city by his employees. Philadelphia is one-fifth of New York City's size but has only one-tenth as much of its cash paid out each year as a result of police misconduct. In Philadelphia, law enforcement personnel are tracked based on their performance and misconduct so that abusers are identified before they create enormous costs (in terms of settlement payments and lost judgments, pain and suffering, and lost credibility and trust for law enforcement). In NYC, not only do we refuse to take a pro-active approach and weed out abusive law enforcement personnel, we even refuse to take action after enormous settlement payments and judgments have been paid as a result of the abuse of the misconducts of particular law enforcement personnel.

In our city over just the last three years, one officer has resulted in more than $170,000 of payouts after four lawsuits, and a new lawsuit is pending. A detective has been sued six times, resulting in payouts of over $100,000, and one precinct in Brooklyn has been sued seven times and cost our city nearly $200,000 in payouts. New York City gets burned repeatedly by the same bad apples while Philadelphia weeds out its abusers. In New York City, our Mayor prefers to pay the cost of misconduct rather than working to minimize the abuse.

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