Police Settlements For Systemic Police Brutality And The Cost To Taxpayers

  • Protests over the police involved killing of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, George Floyd in Minnesota and others around the country reinvigorated an debate over policing. When Greg Fischer, mayor of Louisville, Ky., recently announced the city would pay $12 million to Taylor’s family and institute a number of police reforms, the financial impact of police misconduct on cities and taxpayers became clear.
  • Many times the details of settlements are hidden behind confidentiality agreements. UCLA Law Prof. Joanna Schwartz studies how jurisdictions budget and pay for police legal expenses. She says problems of police violence are not limited to large cities and although payouts can total in the millions, more often they are in the thousands of dollars range.
  • One of the arguments in the ongoing protests over policing is that the money for police could be better spent elsewhere. The clash between protesters and police following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis means that city and others could face a myriad of legal costs.

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