Settlements for wrongful conviction lawsuits have placed Chicago taxpayers footing the bill at $153 million, according to evidence collected by the Chicago Police Department between January 2019 and June 2023.
This substantial sum is expected to rise further as the Chicago City Council reviews a proposal to pay an additional $25 million to resolve separate lawsuits filed in 2016 by two men who collectively spent 34 years in prison after wrongful convictions for a 1993 murder.
Tyrone Hood and Wayne Washington, both wrongfully convicted in the murder case of basketball star Marshall Morgan Jr., had their convictions vacated after evidence emerged implicating Morgan Sr., who is currently serving a 75-year prison sentence for another crime. Both Hood and Washington accused former Detectives Kenneth Boudreau and John Halloran of fabricating evidence and coercing witnesses during their investigations.
Chicago taxpayers also paid $91.3 million to resolve lawsuits involving 116 Chicago police officers accused of misconduct between 2019 and 2021. Cases involving officers with repeated claims of misconduct accounted for 47% of the total cost to taxpayers for police misconduct cases during that period.
Mayor Brandon Johnson has expressed his commitment to improving policing practices to reduce the financial burden of such lawsuits on taxpayers. While the city is investing in a new legal case management system to collect better data and analysis, it will likely be completed in March 2024.
The escalating costs of police misconduct have raised concerns about the city's ability to effectively manage the financial and social repercussions of such cases.
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