* Plenty of folks have criticized the city for settling too many police misconduct cases. But, as the Tribune’s Dan Hinkel shows us, defending these cases ain’t cheap, either…
When a man cleared of murder after 21 years in prison sued the Chicago police officers who put him away, the city’s Law Department brought on private lawyers and fought back.
Three firms billed the city for more than 21,200 hours of legal work over six years, and at least 17 outside attorneys represented the city or cops in federal court. […]
Those expenses represent a rarely discussed but significant cost of police misconduct in Chicago. Over the last 15 years, fees and costs for private attorneys in civil rights cases totaled $213 million, the Tribune found by analyzing city data obtained through an open records request. Last year alone, the city spent $30.1 million — that’s more than twice what it spent on the agency that investigates police misconduct. […]
Since 2004, the city has spent $757 million on settlements, losses at trial and other payouts in police cases. That includes civil rights cases, as well as car crash claims, racial discrimination complaints and sexual harassment suits, among other types of legal matters.
By the way, jurors awarded the above-mentioned man cleared of murder $17 million. Defending against his suit cost the city an additional $5.8 million.