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Chicago Payouts For Police Misconduct Fell In Election Year

Chicago taxpayers spent at least $74 million to resolve lawsuits alleging Chicago police officers committed a wide range of misconduct — including false arrest and excessive force — in 2023, reports WTTW News. That number is significantly less than the totals in 2022 and 2021, when taxpayers spent an average of $95 million in each year to resolve more than 120 lawsuits alleging police misconduct. It is on par with what the city has spent to resolve police misconduct lawsuits on average during the past four years, according to reports released by the Chicago Department of Law. Dating back to 2011, the first election after the retirement of former Mayor Richard Daley, who was in office for 22 years, the financial toll of police misconduct has dropped precipitously during mayoral election years, and 2023 was no exception.

In 2023, city officials resolved at least 120 lawsuits alleging police misconduct. The largest payment for a single incident — a combined $25 million — went to two men who spent a combined 34 years in prison before being exonerated of killing a basketball star in 1993. Wrongful convictions have long been the most expensive kind of police misconduct in Chicago, costing taxpayers a total of $182.3 million since 2019, and $29.25 million in 2024 alone, or nearly 40% of the total amount spent to resolve allegations of police misconduct, The analysis of settlements and verdicts reached in 2023 included all cases identified by the Chicago Law Department as caused by some form of police misconduct, including false arrest, excessive force, extended detention, malicious prosecution and illegal search or seizure that resulted in a jury verdict against the city or that the Chicago City Council agreed to resolve with a payment. Conservatives say the city’s lawyers are too eager to settle cases before trial. Progressive members of the City Council see the expense as perhaps the most visible cost of the fact that city officials have yet to put an end to the decades of scandals, misconduct and brutality in the Chicago Police Department.


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