Watchdog: Accountability

Philadelphia police faced with jump in civil rights lawsuits

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Watchdog,Kelly Cohen,Accountability,Pennsylvania,Civil Rights,Law,Law Enforcement,Philadelphia

Civil-rights lawsuits against Philadelphia police spiked last year, records show.

The stories of the 128 lawsuits in 2013 range from beatings to shootings to shot with a Taser excessively, according to the Philadelphia Daily News.

The cost of these settlements jumped from $8.3 million in 2012 to $14 million last year. Those figures don't include the millions paid to settle lawsuits from police-involved car accidents or labor and employment claims either, according to the Daily News.

This increase in lawsuit payouts is both troubling and unsurprising, some say.

A Daily News review of settlements shows that most involve officers who violate police policies or have numerous amounts of misconduct complaints from citizens.

"Based on my experience, the Police Department fails to follow a strict and non-negotiable discipline process," said attorney Robert Levant, who won a $2.5 million settlement for a wrongful shooting in West Philadelphia.

"The rank and file have no expectation that their behavior is ever going to be subject to any real, meaningful review," according to Levant.

Most of 2013's priciest payouts involved brutality claims and police shootings, records show.

Read the full article here.

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Kelly Cohen

Staff Writer
The Washington Examiner