Stephen Nessen, Reporter, WNYC News
Stephen Nessen reports for the WNYC Newsroom and can often be heard live on Morning Edition.
The two NYPD officers involved in the shooting of 16-year-old Kimani Gray have been sued for civil rights violations, stemming from stop-and-frisk. The city settled those cases out of court, paying $215,000 in total. But that's a small fraction of how much the city pays out annually, which is on the rise according to reports and lawyers.
Officer Jovaniel Cordova and Sergeant Mourad Mourad were involved in the Kimani Gray shooting. Cordova was sued twice in 2011, and Mourad three times in 2007.
Civil rights claims against the NYPD, which include stop-and-frisk, false arrests and use of excessive force or assault, were up 14 percent in fiscal year 2011 from the year before, according the city’s Comptroller's Office. There were 4,561 police action claims filed in that fiscal year, the latest for which the office has reports.
The city paid a total of $59.6 million in fiscal year 2011 on claims.
Attorney Brett Klein, with Leventhal & Klein LLP, represented four of the five plaintiffs who sued Officer Cordova and Sergeant Mourad. Klein said civil rights violations are on the rise.
“Our client’s interactions with Sergeant Mourad [and] Officer Cordova expose a disturbing pattern of unconstitutional and aggressive stop-and-frisk practices. In our experience, their practices resulted in the false arrests of our clients often with violence,” Klien said.
The city says the officers were never found guilty and that the settlements were "not large by legal standards."
The officers have been put on administrative duties while the Gray shooting is investigated.
The Gray family’s lawyer says he plans to file notice of claim soon, the first step in a lawsuit.