NYPD Seeks to Reduce Claims of Civil Rights Violations

There are approximately 3,000 lawsuits filed each year against the New York City Police Department claiming violations of civil rights or use of excessive force, especially against minorities.  Police Commissioner William J. Bratton has created a new legal unit that will investigate these claims.  The 40-member legal unit searches through evidence such as surveillance footage to see if the claims have merit.  Approximately 30 attorneys have been hired as well to take on the trial caseload the city deals with.

The goal of this new legal unit is to decrease cases such as one which occurred in 2010, where a Brooklyn resident was shot by police.  The police contended that the defendant, while holding a machete, ran towards the police in a threatening manner.  According to the defendant, he had a machete, but dropped it and ran from the police.  The defendant, who pled guilty to the charge of menacing an officer, originally brought suit seeking compensatory and punitive damages in the amount of $3 million.  In the end, the case was settled for only $5,000.

Previously, the police would offer individuals a “nuisance value deal,” which was a calculated amount based on the projected cost to bring the case to trial.  In some cases, the department would choose not to review statements from the police officers and individuals and instead would offer a settlement.

With the new legal team and implementation of an investigation strategy now in place, it is now more important than ever to seek experienced legal counsel in the event your civil rights have been violated.  Contact Wendy Pelle-Beer & Associates at (718) 313-0770 for the representation you deserve.

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