police misconduct settlements

City pays $135,000 to settle police dog attack lawsuit

The city of Palo Alto paid $135,000 to a man who was bitten by a police dog while he was innocently sleeping in a backyard, according to a settlement agreement released today (Jan. 5).

In exchange for the payment, Joel Alejo will release the city of all liability from the incident.

It’s the fifth lawsuit related to police misconduct that Palo Alto has settled since February 2016, amounting to $1,282,500 including the Alejo case.

The settlement stems from a dog attack on June 25, 2020, at 1847 Elsie Ave. in Mountain View that hospitalized Alejo with gashes on his leg.

Alejo was sleeping in his family’s backyard while police were searching for a kidnapping suspect around 2:30 a.m.

Palo Alto Agent Nick Enberg responded with his German shepherd. He entered the property through the side gate and came across Alejo laying down in a shed.

Enberg then ordered his dog in Czechoslovakian to bite — “dirsh” — and he repeated the command over 30 times while Alejo yelled and tried to get the dog off of him.

Alejo turned out not to be the person that police were looking for. He was taken to the hospital with exposed fat cells and damaged nerves, according to his lawsuit.

District Attorney Jeff Rosen didn’t file charges against Enberg, who still handles a police dog, according to a September police report.

Female police officer wins $1.75 million settlement against CCSU in rape and sexual harassment lawsuit

Lawyers for a female police officer at Central Connecticut State University said she has obtained a settlement of $1.75 million against the University, claiming the university “fostered an environment in its police department where police sexual misconduct and even sexual assault was the norm, emboldening a fellow officer to rape her on three separate occasions.”

The lawsuit also claimed that members of the police department “sexually harassed female undergraduate students,” and that one officer who was later promoted to sergeant “openly pursued a sexual relationship with an undergraduate student.”

Chicago spent more than $113 million on police misconduct lawsuits in 2018

In a year when the city’s lawyers were hashing out the details of a federal consent decree that will govern police reform efforts for years to come, Chicago taxpayers paid out more than $85 million to settle police misconduct lawsuits and an additional $28 million to outside lawyers to defend these cases.

The amount paid out for police misconduct in 2018 is more than the city has paid in any year since at least 2011, according to data released by the city’s Law Department and analyzed by The Chicago Reporter, and more than what was paid in the previous two years combined. It brings the total tab for police misconduct in the past eight years to well over half a billion dollars.

Police misconduct claims cost Detroit taxpayers $19.1 million since 2015

The city of Detroit has paid out $19.1 million to settle claims of police misconduct since 2015, 7 Action News has learned.

The payouts stem from allegations of wrongful arrest, assault and battery, destruction of property and more.

“$19 million? That impacts every single citizen in the city of Detroit,” said Reginald Crawford, a retired Detroit police officer who recently completed a term on the city’s Board of Police Commissioners.

“The city knows they’re liable, they’re on the hook for something,” he said.

Minnesota police settlements, by the numbers

The settlement between the Justine Ruszczyk family and the city of Minneapolis for $20 million after former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor fatally shot her in 2017 is the largest in city history.

A jury convicted Noor of murder and manslaughter charges in the death of Ruszczyk, who was also known as Justine Damond. She had called police the night of July 15, 2017 to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her Minneapolis home.

According to the settlement, the family will donate $2 million to a safe communities fund.

It is not the first time cities have paid settlements to settle police officer misconduct cases.

Prior to Friday’s settlement with the Ruszczyk family, the city of Minneapolis had paid out more than $24 million in police misconduct related settlements, claims and judgments since 2003.

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