What To Know Today

25 of the nation’s largest police agencies paid over $3.2 billion in settlements for alleged misconduct in one decade. The Washington Post compiled a searchable database tracking total settlement costs and identifying the officers behind nearly 40,000 misconduct payouts at police and sheriff’s departments between 2010 and 2020. Among the findings:

  • A small number of officers drove much of the costs: There were more than 7,600 officers with more than one claim that led to a payout, accounting for $1.5 billion of the total spent on payouts. More than 1,200 officers have been subject to five complaints that resulted in payments, and more than 200 were named in 10 or more.
  • 3 cities account for nearly 80 percent of the total: Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles together paid $2.5 billion in settlement fees. In New York alone, more than 5,000 officers were named in two or more claim cases and accounted for 45 percent of what the city spent. In Chicago, officers subject to more than one claim accounted for over $380 million of almost $528 million. The Windy City also had the highest rate of cases involving repeat officers.

Of the 25 agencies, just four told The Post that they tracked payment information, and few cities make it easy to find such information. “Transparency is what needs to be in place,” said Frank Straub, director of the National Police Foundation’s Center for Mass Violence Response Studies. 

House reauthorizes Violence Against Women Act. The measure was included in a massive $1.5 trillion spending bill that passed on Wednesday and will fund the government through September. The inclusion of the VAWA reauthorization comes after a bipartisan group of senators agreed on a compromise to restore the lapsed law. As we reported, that agreement dropped a measure that would have closed the so-called boyfriend loophole but included a provision that aims to strengthen the federal background check system by alerting state and local police when someone fails a background check while attempting to buy a gun. The House bill now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass.

Tech billionaire Steve Ballmer’s nonprofit puts up $18M for community violence prevention groups. The former Microsoft CEO’s Ballmer Group announced it was giving the money to four anti-violence organizations — the Health Alliance for Violence Intervention; the Community Based Public Safety Collective; Cities United, and the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform — to support community-based solutions to gun violence in cities across the country. “This is a first-of-its-kind commitment at this level, addressing the problem of community violence in cities through a collective national technical assistance effort,” said Fatimah Loren Dreier, executive director of the HAVI. “With this significant donation, we are able to scale our collective work supporting cities and enact a strategy that involves significant infrastructure.”

Philly police commissioner says she will fire officer who shot and killed a preteen in the back. According to police, four officers were investigating a suspected gun violation on March 1 when they approached two minors, including the victim. After a bullet was shot into the officers’ car, police say, an unidentified plainclothes officer shot 12-year-old Thomas Siderio as he was running away. Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said the officer had broken department guidelines on excessive force. A lawyer for Siderio said there was no evidence the boy fired at police and decried the department’s suggestion that he had. (Last week, the city’s deputy police commissioner, Ben Nash, said there was no definitive proof who fired the gun). Because plainclothes officers are not required to wear body cameras, there’s no department footage of the incident available.

Pennsylvania man pleads guilty for threats to kill Democratic senators. Kenelm Shirk was indicted in February 2021, a month after State Police stopped him on the road to Washington, D.C., where authorities recovered several guns and a large cache of ammunition. Federal prosecutors charged him with making terroristic threats.

Data Point

Two-thirds — the share of registered voters in California who think crime has risen in their neighborhoods, regardless of the actual crime statistics in their area, according to a UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies/Los Angeles Times poll. Meanwhile, 51 percent of voters said the governor was doing a poor job on crime, up 16 percentage points from 2020. [The Los Angeles Times]