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Investigation Shows City Paid Out Over $21.5 Million To Settle Complaints Against Police Department

Between 2018 and 2023, Columbus spent over $21.5 million settling complaints against its Division of Police, Axios reports. This expenditure covered 40 settlements, averaging one every eight weeks, for issues ranging from car crashes to wrongful shootings and discrimination claims. 

High-profile payouts included $10 million for the 2020 shooting of Andre Hill and $5.75 million for excessive force during racial justice protests. The vice unit's disbandment followed settlements related to its operations, including a $1 million payout for the shooting of Donna Castleberry by Officer Andrew Mitchell, who was acquitted of murder but convicted of kidnapping. Additional settlements addressed internal disputes and claims of discrimination within the department.

This spending reflects a broader trend of using judicial remedies for alleged police misconduct, a shift seen as societal progress. Settlements, funded from the city's general fund, are chosen over trials to minimize financial risk without necessarily admitting wrongdoing. Columbus, lacking police liability insurance due to the high risk associated with large police departments, shares this burden of costly settlements with other cities. 

City Council approval is required for each settlement, with discussions around funding sources and the impact on taxpayers. Cases like the shooting of Andre Hill and excessive force during protests show the real harm caused by unchecked police actions. Instead of continuing this cycle, we need to address the core issues behind police misconduct and invest in new ways to keep our communities safe.

Link: Axios


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