New York's finest are there to serve and protect the people of America's largest city. But the excessive force displayed by individuals on the police force can darken its reputation as well as cause harm to innocent people, even if the image of the beat cop has improved over the last few decades.
The city paid out a staggering $384 million to settle police misconduct claims, ranging from inappropriate searches to physical violence. Payouts went to roughly half of the 11,400 claimants since 2013. Nearly half of the eye-watering total went to settle 37 cases for more than $1 million each.
Most police misconduct charges revolve around false imprisonment. The two biggest payouts went to a man and the estate of a man accused of murders neither committed, while many of the smaller amounts went to people who had been jailed for a night or more on charges that were dropped later.
Unsubstantiated surveillance was also the subject of suits against the city, as the controversial practices of racial profiling and demographic analysis led to hundreds of people being searched without cause or having their actions documented by law enforcement personnel.
Investigators have also revealed select officers in the NYPD have avoided punishment if they are well-connected to high-ranking administrators or well-liked within the justice system. This can serve to corrode the people's trust in the force charged with public safety in New York.
Victims of police misconduct or brutality have the right to file a lawsuit and have their voice heard. An attorney can help advise on the best way forward after a police officer has acted inappropriately.