NYPD generates more than a third of claims against city: Report

Police misconduct, injury and civil rights allegations against the NYPD made up more than one-third of all claims against the city over the past year, according to data from the city comptroller’s office.

The report from Comptroller Scott Stringer said that there were 9,502 claims filed against the NYPD in fiscal year 2013, accounting for 37% of all tort claims against the city in that period.

New York City, meanwhile, paid out $137.2 million in settlements and judgments for police-related claims during that period. That is more than a quarter of the $500 million the city gave to claimants in fiscal year 2013, though it is a decrease from 2012, when the NYPD was responsible for $152 million worth of claim payments.

The data was compiled as part of Stringer’s first ClaimStat report, which tracked the number and location of claims lodged against five city agencies — NYPD, parks, the Health and Hospitals Corporation, environmental protection and sanitation.

“If you look at the different precincts, you’re able to better analyze what some of the concerns are,” Stringer said in an interview. “In L.A. they did this and reduced claims, in Portland they did this and reduced claims.”

For the NYPD, nine of 12 Bronx precincts were in the top 15 for the number of claims per crime complaint — between six and 13 claims for every 100 crimes reported. The NYPD did not respond to request for comment.

The cost of paying for claims against the city is growing, Stringer’s report shows. In this year’s budget, the city set aside $674 million to cover claimants and is planning to pay $782 million in 2018, according to the report. Payouts for tort cases in 1995 cost the city $246 million and $565.6 million in 2001.

“The city already takes a number of steps to drive down city costs related to claims, including recently launching a new NYPD unit focused specifically on this issue,” said the mayor’s spokesman Phil Walzak in a statement. He added that the number of tort claim payouts have been flat over the last 12 years, “the result of continued effective risk management strategies like early settlement in meritorious cases, and aggressive litigation strategy when circumstances warrant.”

The city will start keeping track on NYPD claims in a new Risk Assessment and Compliance Unit that was funded in the latest budget and staffed with more than 40 people.

Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, said the high level of claims against the NYPD were the result of stop-and-frisk policing policies under Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“Among the concerns that we have are whether the ‘broken windows’ policing practices that have been embraced by Commissioner [Bill] Bratton will generate similar concerns,” Lieberman said. “The question is whether they will translate into excesses and legal claims as well.”