New York City has run up a $540 million tab in payouts related to improper police actions since 1998 — and taxpayer cost for such cases hit a record high last year, reports the New York Post. In 1998, the city paid lawsuit settlements or judgments to 571 claimants who accused the NYPD of bad behavior. That figure more than doubled to 1,265 in 2008, according to Law Department data.
The amount of money shelled out each year also doubled in the past decade. The city paid $31.8 million in 1998, and $66.4 million in 2008. The 10,625 payouts made over the last 10 years stemmed from lawsuits accusing the NYPD of false arrest, malicious prosecutions, excessive force or other misconduct. Some of these payouts came in cases filed more than a decade ago. The biggest settlement in 2008 was $3.4 million to Hector Gonzalez, who sued the city in 2004 after spending more than six years in prison on a wrongful murder conviction.