New Yorkers expect the police to be helpful and courteous. Unfortunately, some officers abuse their power, leaving victims dealing with unfair treatment. Police misconduct costs billions of dollars each year nationwide.
What is police misconduct?
Police misconduct often involves the violation of laws and people’s civil rights. For example, if a person is arrested and is compliant but the officer uses excessive force and breaks the person’s arm while handcuffing them, that would be considered misconduct as well as police brutality.
How does repeated police misconduct cost the city so much?
Sometimes, police misconduct occurs because of a mistake. If officers conduct a raid on a person’s home believing they are guilty of a specific crime, they have to be sure they have the right suspect and the correct address. In 2014, one man’s home was raided by police who manhandled him and shot his dog in cold blood. It turned out the police had the wrong house as the man’s neighbor was the suspect they had in mind. After the incident, the man sued the police department for violating his civil rights and gross negligence. He received a monetary settlement but never got an acknowledgment of the error or an apology.
One of the police officers involved in that situation had multiple claims of excessive force made against him. Those claims have resulted in multiple lawsuits being made against the police force. This amounts to billions of dollars paid to victims of police misconduct.
A 2021 survey examined police officers to see whether any payments had been made to victims of police misconduct. Out of over 1,200 officers who participated, many had at least five settlements paid due to their actions. Over 200 officers had 10 or more payments made to settle misconduct lawsuit.