Boston has spent more than $36 million to resolve 2,000 legal claims and lawsuits against the Boston Police Department over the past decade, with most of the money going for cases alleging wrongful convictions or police misconduct, says the Boston Globe. Most of the payouts, $31 million, went for 22 cases worth $100,000 or more, including nine awards for well over $1 million apiece, according to data provided by the mayor's office under a public records request filed by the Globe. Civil rights lawyer Howard Friedman, who handled large settlements in which those involved contended that they were wrongfully convicted of crimes, said the payouts could have resulted in even larger verdicts had the city not agreed to settle. “Settling was smart for the city,” he said. “These are just terrible cases.”
Chicago, which is four times larger than Boston, paid out more than a half-billion dollars to resolve police brutality cases over the last decade, said the Chicago Sun-Times. Some of the biggest payouts in Boston went to the families of victims who died after encounters with police during celebrations of major sports victories in Boston over the years. In one high-profile case, Boston paid $5 million to the family of Victoria Snelgrove after the 21-year-old college student died when police fired pepper-pellet guns into a crowd reveling in the Red Sox pennant victory in 2004 outside Fenway Park. Boston agreed to a $3 million settlement in 2010 after another college student, David Woodman, stopped breathing and later died when he was arrested for public drinking after the 2008 Celtics championship.