In a move aimed at averting lawsuits alleging officer misconduct, Pittsburgh officials are arranging for the U.S. attorney’s office to provide training on civil-rights issues to police academy recruits, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. In an audit of the city Law Department, Controller Michael Lamb encouraged the city to “continue its efforts to train police personnel to perform to a high standard of professional conduct while both on and off duty to help prevent potential civil rights violations.”
The audit documented 40 civil-rights lawsuits filed against various city departments from Jan. 1, 2009, through June 30, 2011. Twenty-four cases named the police bureau as defendant. Ten of them “were settled in the plaintiffs’ favor” during the 30-month span, the audit said, costing about $4.3 million in settlements or judgments and $20,645 in court-related expenses. The bulk of that money — about $3.8 million — was awarded in a 2009 case involving a man who was wrongfully convicted of rape and served 19 years in prison.