Police Brutality Doesn’t Pay

Final Call News reports:

In Chicago the mayor has put city employees on unpaid leave to help fill a budget shortfall. But a little over a year ago, Chicago officials agreed to pay $19.8 million to four men who suffered police torture under then-commander Jon Burge.Some $30 million has been spent to settle assorted lawsuits connected with the case, which stretches back to abuses during the 1980s and 1990s. Mayor Richard Daley proposed a two-to-three day furlough for more than 4,000 non-union workers to ease the city’s budgetary crisis.

…Current budget problems may cause taxpayers to take a look at how their money is spent, but in Chicago $18 million was paid to the family of LaTanya Haggerty, a Black woman shot to death by police in 1999. In 1995, a New York Times editorial noted that in the “cash-starved” Big Apple, brutality settlements and court judgments cost the city $87 million over five years. The Rodney King beating cost Los Angeles $3.8 million in a settlement and estimates for property damage hit $700 million after riots when officers involved were acquitted. In 2001, the city of New York shelled out $7.125 million in the infamous Abner Louima case, in which the Haitian immigrant was assaulted with a plunger by officers in a precinct bathroom.

“This is shameful because right now if you’re already suffering from a $150 million budget deficit and you have three or four huge lawsuits, you have to find that money, so it makes sense to train and educate officers on the front end rather than pay for settlements on the back,” said Ronald Hampton, executive director of the National Black Police Association.

I don’t read this as an argument that citizens who have been abused by police shouldn’t bring cases. This is an argument for police departments to stop wasting taxpayer money by condoning police brutality. Thoughts?

One thought on “Police Brutality Doesn’t Pay

  1. Chicago is and always has been more concerned with protecting its officers from discipline for the abuses they commit than protecting its citizens from those abuses, even if it means paying millions in lawsuit settlements. Even the new police superintendent, who was brought in to clean things up, is trying to hide evidence of police misconduct: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/chi-0227edit2feb27,0,7471051.story

    Chicago’s citizens haven’t yet found the issue sufficiently compelling to demand real solutions from their aldermen; I suspect this is because police abuse usually occurs in the poor areas of the city, where the victims are less likely to protest. Perhaps the recession will finally motivate the better-situated residents of the city to stop accepting this recurring waste of their tax dollars.

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