new york's finest

The City Has Paid Almost Half a Billion Dollars in NYPD-Related Settlements Over the Past 5 Years

Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

In response to a Freedom of Information Law request filed by MuckRock, New York City released a document listing every civil-rights lawsuit brought against the NYPD since 2009, as well as how much money it cost to settle each one. As you can imagine, there’s a lot of information to sift through (take a look for yourself here), but one piece of information really sticks out: Over the past five years, the city has spent a total of $428 million on police-related settlements. 

As Gothamist pointed out, these settlements aren’t all the result of basic misconduct by cops. For example, the largest payout, $11.5 million, went to Google engineer Sasha Blair-Goldensohn, who was nearly killed in 2009 when a tree branch fell on him in Central Park. Another big one — $2.75 million — went to the family of Ronald Spear, who died after being beaten by Rikers Island guards, who work for the Department of Correction, not the NYPD. Still, there are more than 10,000 cases (average settlement: $33,875) listed on the document provided to MuckRock, and it seems likely that most are about what you’d expect. 

$428 Million in NYPD-Related Settlements Paid