As Michigan State Police investigators sort out the shooting of 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones in Detoit, one aspect is clear: Detroit taxpayers will pay, reports the Detroit News. Experts say the family’s lawsuit against Detroit surely will result in a multimillion-dollar payout. For the financially strapped city, that would only add to the more than $39 million paid out in police lawsuits between July 2006 and June 2009.
About half of that — $19.1 million — can be traced specifically to police misconduct allegations, including $7.3 million in payouts for 18 people shot by police. They range from $2.5 million for a man who was shot in the head and still lives with the bullet fragment to $25,000 for a woman shot in the leg at a backyard party by an officer aiming at a charging dog. The multimillions in payouts for legal settlements and jury verdicts continue despite the department being under federal oversight since 2003 for allegations of police brutality and ill treatment of prisoners. For a city with an estimated $300 million deficit, the lawsuits are a “vicious cycle,” said City Council President Pro Tem Gary Brown, a former Detroit police officer.