Indianapolis Paying Millions in Costly Police Lawsuits

Police lawsuits are costing Indianapolis taxpayers millions of dollars.

The City of Indianapolis is staring down a list of lawsuits with claims of nearly $38 million, most of which are against IMPD.

For more than one month, Indianapolis’ 13 investigates has been asking the city for a list of its pending lawsuits and settlement amounts paid over the last year. City Corporation Counsel has refused, calling the requests “vague.”

Slowly, more information has been getting out, including more on the victims who have been waiting years to have their cases resolved.

Jenny Foster has not received a penny from the City of Indianapolis. Almost two yeas ago, an off-duty rookie Indianapolis police officer ran a red light in his cruiser and broadsided Foster’s car. The officer told investigators that he was trying to dislodge his flashlight from under his brake pedal when he rolled through the intersection.

Foster spoke with 13 Investigates while she was in rehab for a broken pelvis, weeks after the accident.

“Whether it was a police officer or a regular citizen, if someone ran a red light then there was negligence,” Foster told 13 Investigates.

13 Investigates has learned that Foster is one of 75 people with pending lawsuits against the city. Based on new numbers released, claimants are seeking more than $38 million in negligence claims.

Nearly three out of every four lawsuits (or forty-six) are against IMPD.

The city has paid out $4.1 million this year, most of it to victims involved in the Officer David Bisard crash and high ranking officers demoted in that case. Another chunk was paid to Brandon Johnson, the teen that alleged police brutality.

13 Investigates has learned that three years of trying to settle with the family of Amber Raines has been finalized after the city paid that family $400,000.

20-year-old Raines, a young mother, was killed when a police officer slammed into her as she and a friend were crossing Keystone Avenue at 9 pm New Years Eve night in 2008. The officer was responding to a burglary run with headlights on, but no emergency lights or sirens.  Police dispatch records show it took the officer involved in the crash just 41 seconds to cover a one-mile stretch before the accident. Experts hired by the Raines family said the only way that could happen is if the officer was speeding at 95 miles per hour.

Raines’ family and attorney are not allowed to disclose details of the 2011 settlement, but early on the city ruled the crash that killed Amber was “non-preventable” because she was jaywalking.

The family’s payout finally came after 13 Investigates revealed that the police officer who struck and killed Amber had been involved in two prior preventable accidents and ordered back to driver’s training.

In 2011, IMPD promised to better track officer discipline, including the number of crashes, but no conclusive action was taken.

A new director is now proposing a new matrix system to better track officer behavior and implement corrective training.

Feel free to comment on this blog post. For more information, contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).

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