Settling for Misconduct: Police Lawsuits in Chicago

Chicago Reporter

Between 2012 and 2015, the City of Chicago paid $210 million in settlements in police misconduct cases.

That was for 655 lawsuits.

On average, a lawsuit against the Chicago Police Department is settled almost every other day.

The multi-million dollar settlements grab the headlines.

But the median settlement amount is $36,000.

The settlements often stem from daily instances of excessive policing in black and Latino communities.

False arrest. Illegal search and seizure. Excessive force.

86 percent of the cases end in a settlement.

The city may pay, but a settlement is not an admission of guilt.

In 2014, the City of Chicago paid $67 million in settlements and outside lawyers.

That's enough money to support the combined annual expenses of a citywide afterschool program and two nonprofits that serve homeless people.

Between 2012 and 2015, the Police Department exceeded its budget for misconduct lawsuits by almost $200 million.

To pay police and other settlements, the city borrowed money using long-term bonds. Interest payments will more than double the cost to taxpayers for police misconduct.

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