CHICAGO — On Tuesday, Chicago's City Council is expected to approve a $415,000 settlement in a yet another police misconduct case.
The Tribune reports that the payment stems from a 2011 incident where two on-duty officers allegedly sexually assaulted a Rogers Park woman. The officers pleaded guilty to official misconduct (with no acknowledgement of sexual wrongdoing), resigned from the force and avoided jail time, the paper reports.
As the national conversation about police misconduct is currently focused on Baltimore, Chicago has actually outspent Baltimore by tens of millions of dollars over the years when it comes to paying for police abuse.
Since 2004, the Better Government Association reports, Chicago taxpayers have shelled out more than $500 MILLION on police-related settlements. More than $183 million of that was paid out in the last four years.
Last month, the city moved forward with a $5 million settlement in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot by police 16 times. The city also agreed in April to create a $5.5 million reparations fund for those tortured by notorious Police Cmdr. Jon Burge. The city had previously given $64 million in settlements to Burge torture survivors.
What could the city buy with the extra half BILLION? The BGA broke it down:
* Nearly covers the $600 million contribution that state law requires Chicago to make next year to its underfunded police and fire pension funds.
* Could build five high schools like the state-of-the-art building the city recently developed in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. The 212,000-square-foot school has space for 1,200 students and includes five computer labs, six science labs, a gymnasium and an indoor swimming pool.
* Could pay for the repaving of 500 miles of arterial streets, based on a city spokesman's estimate of it costing $1 million per road mile.
* Could cover the cost of building 33 libraries like the one that opened last September in the Albany Park neighborhood. The 16,300-square-foot building includes a landscaped reading garden and 38 public computer terminals.
Despite the steep cost over 10 years, settlements have actually dropped dramatically since 2013, when the city paid out more than $84 million. In 2014, the city paid just shy of $17 million.
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