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Cop in Sodomy Case Had History of Excessive Force Suits

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The city has already paid millions to settle excessive force claims against Police Officer Richard Kern, indicted for sodomizing Michael Mineo.

Last year the City paid out $50,000 to settle two excessive force lawsuits against Kern, who was indicted yesterday for sodomizing a Brooklyn man with a piece of police equipment.

Even though the settlements carry no admission of wrongdoing, they're bringing heightened scrutiny to the whole issue of tort claims against the NYPD. WNYC's Bob Hennelly reports.

REPORTER: Last year the city paid more than $80 million to satisfy thousands of claims brought against the NYPD, the highest in the last four years.

City Council Public Safety Chairman Peter Vallone says often the city is too quick to settle, then doesn't learn lessons when they do. He wants each police precinct to be held accountable for its tort claim track record.

Council Speaker Christine Quinn says she wants the dots connected between pay outs and possible lessons learned.

QUINN: I think there would be great benefit if we in government and the police Department understood the nature of actions that led to claims by New Yorkers, claims that rose to the level of their being financial pay outs.

REPORTER: Since 2002 the city has paid out over a half billion dollars to settle claims brought against the NYPD.

The City's Law Department says it works effectively with the NYPD to identify potential liabilities.

For WNYC I am Bob Hennelly.

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