New York City has paid $22 million in 35 separate settlements and judgments to end lawsuits that accuse the NYPD of violating civil rights—all in the space of two months, from June 1 to July 30. Included among the cases is a class-action lawsuit over wrongful “loitering” arrests ($15 million), civil wrongful arrest suits, and allegations of police brutality.
Civil rights activists are hopeful that the levied settlements will force the NYPD to reassess their tactics, especially as civil rights claims filed against the NYPD increased 23% from 1,826 claims in the year period from July 2009-10 to 2,241 claims in July 2010-11.
Despite the cash paid out, the NYPD maintains that settlements are not an admission of guilt, said Celeste Koeleveld, the executive assistant corporation counsel for public safety.
“As we’ve often noted, the decision to settle a lawsuit is not an indication of wrongdoing by the police officer or officers involved. Rather, it is a complex business judgment based on, among other things, the inherent riskiness of litigation.”