Why one NYPD oversight bill will spark lawsuits against the city, but won’t cost taxpayers a dime

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Bias-based policing is part of a second bill being considered for veto override at that city council hearing this evening.  That bill would increase individuals’ access to state courts for claims of profiling.  But more lawsuits under the bill won’t necessarily cost the city more money.

The city spends almost $750 million on settlements and verdicts each year.  And a big chunk of that comes from lawsuits against the NYPD.  But this bill, being considered for veto override, which would make it easier for individuals to sue the city for biased based policing, won’t cost the tax payers an additional dime.

More than 150-million dollars. That’s how much the NYPD spent to settle lawsuits in 2012 alone.
Enough money to put about 2-thousand more teachers in classrooms or deliver about 13-million more meals to seniors.

So how could the city even afford to consider a bill that would make it easier to bring lawsuits against the NYPD.

Councilman Brad Lander co-sponsored bill 1080 which passed the city council back in June.  Under the legislation bias-based profiling would expand to include age, gender, housing status and sexual orientation. But, like the Inspector General Bill, it was vetoed by Mayor Bloomberg.  Lander says this Bill makes sense because it emphasizes public policy OVER individual profits.

Whether or not City Council gets enough votes to override the Mayor’s veto, Manhattan Borough President and Candidate for City Comptroller Scott Stringer says the NYPD has to cut down on the number of claims against the Department.
In an article for the Daily News Stringer said:

“Citizens have every right to sue, but that doesn’t mean the city cannot be doing more to try to prevent claims from arising in the first place.”

Stringer’s idea: cut claims with statistics.
He’s proposing using data from other NYPD lawsuits to create ClaimStat.
The initiative would be modeled after the CompStat program that tracks crime hot spots.

“We owe it to New York’s Finest and to all New Yorkers to use innovative tools to root out waste and invest savings in programs that can make a real difference in the lives of working families,” Stringer said.

And Lander says ClaimStat and Bill 1080 would work hand in hand to improve policing for the entire city.

Now interesting to note that despite her support of the inspector General Bill, Speaker Christine Quinn has opposed this profiling bill.  In the past Quinn has said she was worried about too much judicial involvement.  And as the Council considers overriding the Mayor’s veto, every vote will count.  The first time through Bill 1080 passed with the minimum number of required votes.  So if any council member changes his or her mind, the Mayor’s veto will stand.

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