Increasingly, New York City is settling civil rights claims for sizable amounts before those harmed even formally file a lawsuit.
There was the recent case of a former U.S. Marine who suffered mental illness and died in an overheated jail cell. His family was given $2.25 million in compensation. Then there were three half-brothers, convicted of a murder it was later proven they didn’t commit. They received $17 million. In another case, a man who served 23 years in prison before he was proven innocent received $6.5 million.
It’s never been unusual for individuals and families who have suffered profound losses as a result of civil rights violations by local, state and federal government employees to receive ample compensation. It’s not even all that unusual for both sides to reach a settlement prior to a case reaching the trial phase. What is unique is the fact those wronged never even had to file a lawsuit.