As part of an ongoing investigation, MuckRock’s Todd Feathers asked the NYPD for a list of all civil rights lawsuits brought against the department. To his surprise, what he got was every case brought against the NYPD since 2009, and how much those cases cost them. To all of MuckRock’s surprise, that amount is several hundred million dollars.
A couple interesting take-aways: one, the sheer volume of capital that is being spent on settlements, and two, that the overwhelming majority of these cases end with the NYPD at fault. While’s there a handful of Zero Disposition and Administrative Closing statuses, the Settlement category outnumbers them three to one.
We reached out to the New York City Law Department, and they clarified two points - one, these figures only represent settlements from cases which began after January 1st, 2009. The actual total amount of settlements from that five-year period - which would include all cases that were ongoing as of that date - is likely much, much higher.
Two, the spreadsheet is comprised of all lawsuits in which the NYPD was listed as a defendant, which helps explain the inclusion of the Sasha Blair-Goldensohn case in their ten largest payoffs.
Although why the police department was a defendant in lawsuits like the Sasha Blair-Goldensohn case is not clear.