In the era of smartphone video, cities may no longer be able to afford their police forces’ misconduct. The city of New York now budgets a whopping $180 million a year for payouts to victims of police brutality and wrongful arrest, New York World writes:
Lawsuits against the city’s police soared to a record 2,004 cases entering the courts in the year that ended July 1, indicat[ing] that the flood of cases brought against the New York City police — which have seen a 63 percent rise over the last decade — has not subsided.
Meanwhile, a federal judge ruled this week that the city is liable for hundreds of arrests the NYPD made during the Republican National Convention in 2004, opening up the possibility that plaintiffs could sue for false arrest and further exacerbate the problem.
For fiscal year 2013, now underway, the NYPD has budgeted $180 million for payouts. Because cases against the NYPD can take at least two to three years to conclude, a spike now means that payouts for court judgments and settlements are likely to squeeze the city budget in coming years. “It suggests the city has a ticking time bomb for making payouts for police conduct,” said Mark Taylor, an attorney who represents plaintiffs in police misconduct cases.