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Minneapolis Police Pay Out Millions To Settle Misconduct Cases; Admit No Wrongdoing

June 3, 2013 by  

Since 2006, the Minneapolis Police Department has paid out almost $14 million to the “alleged” victims of police misconduct and abuse. But seldom do those payoffs come with an admission of wrongdoing, or a disciplinary action against the offending officers.

In fact, the 12 most costly cases, in terms of payouts, involved no officer discipline. The department paid $2.19 million to the family of a mentally ill man police shot and killed in 2006. But no one was disciplined or fired.

Last month, the department broke that record, settling for $3 million with the family of a mentally ill man who died after being forcibly restrained at the local YMCA. It was the largest payout in the city’s history to the family of a civilian alleged to have been harmed by the Minneapolis police. But there’s been no discipline.

“Attorneys who have sued the Minneapolis police say the department is reluctant to discipline wayward officers,” reports the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “Robert Bennett, the attorney who represented the family of [deceased alleged police victim] David Smith, has extracted more large payouts for alleged police misconduct in Minneapolis than any other attorney. He said he believes the department does not discipline ‘at least on these big cases’ because it will hamper its defense in the courtroom.

“City Attorney Susan Segal denied that assertion, and said decisions on discipline and whether to defend or settle lawsuits are separate.”

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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