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States, Cities Pay Millions In Settlements For Police Misconduct

New York City paid more than $50 million in lawsuits alleging misconduct by members of the NYPD in the first half of 2023, and that figure is on track to exceed $100 million by the end of the year, the Intercept reports. Yet, that total doesn’t capture how much the city has to spend in cases where its cops are accused of everything from causing car accidents to beating innocent people. The $100 million figure also does not include lawsuits settled by New York City prior to litigation. Pre-litigation settlements from July 2022 through September of this year totaled $50 million. “It says something that it’s just such a high amount even before people get to file in civil court,” said Jennvine Wong, staff attorney with the Cop Accountability Project at the Legal Aid Society, which provides public defense in New York City.

In a different case involving a settlement related police violence, the city of Fort Worth, Texas, approved a $3.5 million settlement for a child who witnessed his aunt, Atatiana Jefferson, being fatally shot through a window of her home by a police officer four years ago. The Fort Worth City Council approved the settlement for Zion Carr, who was 8 years old when his aunt was killed, the Associated Press reports. Zion testified at the trial last December of Aaron Dean, the former officer who was convicted of manslaughter in Jefferson’s death and sentenced to nearly 12 years in prison. Part of the settlement will help cover Zion’s current needs and living expenses, and a savings plan will be established to pay for his college education, according to the city. Dean, who is white, shot Jefferson, a 28-year-old Black woman, in October 2019, after a neighbor called a non-emergency police line to report that the front door to Jefferson’s home was open.


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