Chicago police officers have racked up more than a half-billion dollars in police-related legal fees and misconduct payouts over the past 10 years.
According to the Better Government Association, the city has paid out $521.3 million in police-related settlements, judgments, legal fees and related costs over the past decade. Perhaps of most concern is the fact that the highest individual yearly payout occurred just last year, when the city dished out $84.6 million, more than three times what was budgeted.
In comparison, Los Angeles, a city with a similar sized police force, paid only $20 million in 2013. Clearly Chicago – and its police force – is moving in the wrong direction.
In a larger breakdown of police expenses, the BGA uncovered:
- The city has paid more the $42 million in police misconduct suits over the last five years.
- From 2009-2013 more than 1,600 misconduct-related lawsuits were filed against the Chicago police force. The majority alleged the use of excessive force.
- Chicago paid nearly $50 million in plaintiff fees and an estimated $80 million for defense attorneys over the last decade.
- In the suburbs, more than 1/4 of the misconduct lawsuits were filed in one of six towns: Berwyn, Calumet City, Cicero, Dolton, Harvey and Markham.
University of Chicago law professor Craig Futterman sais internal department changes are necessary to reduce these outrageous payouts.
“Until that changes we’re going to continue to pay,” said Futterman.
Despite the concerning findings, the BGA said the majority of police officers uphold the law and make the community a safer place.
“The actions of a small number of individuals that occurred years ago do not reflect the Chicago Police Department of today and the Superintendent and his team work with the community every day to ensure the public trust,” the BGA said in a statement.
Related source: Chicago Tonight