NYPD Paid Out $30 Million in Misconduct Cases Before Litigation in First Nine Months of 2023

Including the newly revealed $30 million, the NYPD paid out more than $80 million in misconduct cases so far in 2023.

Police Officers from the 41st Precinct in the Bronx, NY investigate the scene where police shot and killed a suspect who fired at police on May 13, 2022. Plain clothes officers were investigating a separate case when they encountered a group in a dispute and an armed suspect fired at police officers, police returned fire striking the gunman fives times, the gunman died at a nearby hospital. (Photo by Steve Sanchez/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)
New York Police Department officers in the Bronx, N.Y., on May 13, 2022, investigate the scene where police shot and killed a suspect who fired at police with an air pistol. Photo: Steve Sanchez/Sipa via AP

The New York Police Department has been making headlines for the huge settlements paid out by the city in misconduct cases. In the first half of 2023, New York City paid more than $50 million in lawsuits alleging misconduct by members of the NYPD. 

That figure is on track to exceed $100 million by the end of the year — but even that total doesn’t capture how much the city has to spend in cases where its cops are accused of everything from causing car accidents to beating innocent people.

The $100 million figure does not include lawsuits settled by the city prior to litigation, which reached $30 million in the first nine months of this year, according to data obtained from the office of the New York City Comptroller through a public records request. Pre-litigation settlements from July 2022 through September of this year totaled $50 million — meaning the city’s payouts in such suits since July 2022, including those settled after litigation, rose to a total of around $280 million.

“It says something that it’s just such a high amount even before people get to file in civil court,” said Jennvine Wong, staff attorney with the Cop Accountability Project at the Legal Aid Society, which provides public defense in New York City. ”And all it does is it helps obscure police misconduct.”

The information about pre-litigation settlements provided to The Intercept through a public records request included settlements ranging from $1.8 million to $119. The comptroller’s office did not have immediately available data on the amount paid in pre-litigation settlements prior to July 2022. 

In response to questions, an NYPD spokesperson pointed to a comptroller report that showed an 11 percent decrease in claims from 2021 to 2022, and a 52 percent drop in claims filed with the comptroller against the NYPD since 2013. 

“The NYPD carefully analyzes this information as well as trends in litigation against the Department,” said an NYPD spokesperson who did not provide their name. “When it comes to litigation data, the NYPD is seeing similar success in the declining numbers. There has been a nearly 20% reduction in police action filings against the NYPD from 2021 to 2022, and a nearly 65% reduction since 2013.”

The report notes that while the number of tort claims filed against the NYPD declined from 2021 to 2022, the amount of payouts increased by 14 percent, from $208.1 million to $237.2 million. 


NYPD “Transparency” Site Leaves Out Misconduct Lawsuits Settled for Millions

Earlier this year, The Intercept reported that a new NYPD website dedicated to “transparency” around police misconduct and payouts leaves out cops accused of wrongdoing and only covers a fraction of the millions the city pays out in such cases. The website only includes those cases where there are findings of guilt, even as the police pay out millions of dollars precisely to avoid convictions and other findings of wrongdoing. 

Some of the police officers left out of the transparency database have been named in multiple misconduct lawsuits. In some of the cases, rather than receiving public scrutiny through the database, the NYPD cops have received promotions.

Correction: November 27, 2023, 4:22 p.m.
Due to an editing error, the previous headline incorrectly referenced the amount of time the NYPD paid out $30 million in pre-litigation settlements. It reached that number in the first nine months of this year, not six months.

Join The Conversation