St. Paul Shelled Out $1 Million for Police Lawsuits in 2012

Largest amount in 17 years


ST. PAUL, Minn.—St. Paul spent about $1 million to settle or defend itself against lawsuits alleging police misconduct last year, which was the largest amount in at least 17 years, a newspaper reported Sunday.

Of the eight lawsuits settled in 2012, half the incidents occurred during Chief Thomas Smith's tenure, which started in 2010. The other half were during John Harrington's time as chief. His six-year term started in 2004.

The total costs — settlement amounts, city attorney staff time and court costs — were almost $800,000 in the Smith cases and more than $230,000 in the Harrington cases, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

One case that was settled for $400,000 involved a woman who suffered serious burns when police used a flash-bang device while executing a search warrant at her home.

(Hat tip to Reason commenter Sloopyinca)