Just how common is police misconduct?

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2020 | Uncategorized

Because the purpose of law enforcement is to protect and serve United States citizens, you might hope that police misconduct never happens. On the contrary, not only is police misconduct prevalent, it’s much more common than people may realize.

How is improper conduct defined?

Law enforcement officials cannot violate Constitutional rights or act in obstruction of justice. Potential instances of misconduct include:

  • Assault
  • Excessive use of force
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Theft
  • Malicious prosecution
  • False arrest
  • Wrongful imprisonment

Police officers, correctional officers, prosecutors, judges, and other law enforcement officials can be held accountable for improper conduct.

Every year the New York police department shares data regarding the number of claims filed against police officers for improper conduct. In the last five years, the city paid out $300,754,486 in settlements for NYPD misconduct.

Is the city paying out more now than ever before?

In 2018, NYC paid out $38,951,976. That number jumped to a whopping $68,688,423 in 2019, meaning city payouts increased by $30 million in just one year.

Although it is clear that the payouts have increased, the data suggests that the number of new lawsuits had slightly decreased in 2019.

Are the number of lawsuits declining?

A representative for the city law department claimed there has been a steady decline in the number of police misconduct cases since 2017. According to the data, in 2019, there were 1,383 police misconduct cases compared to 1,615 cases, in 2018.

However, the data may not account for lawsuits settled outside the courtroom. Hopefully, the number of police misconduct allegations are declining. Not only are these settlements upsetting due to the injustice, but they also cost New York City taxpayers millions of dollars every year.