The mayor said last week he would change the policy after responding to questions about the city settling for $5,000 with a man who was shot by police officers after menacing them with a machete, which was first reported by the New York Post on Jan. 29.
“This suit was settled for $5,000 for so-called nuisance value, to make it go away without regard to the lack of merit to the suit,” the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner for Legal Matters Larry Byrne said during a press conference Monday.
“Last Thursday was a very significant start and policy change, which the mayor announced later in the day, which is no more payments for frivolous lawsuits, even relatively small amounts will no longer be paid and that’s a very big dramatic shift from the last 10 years.”
De Blasio described these types of suits as a way to “scam the city for money,” during a Jan. 30 press conference.
“They're not fair to the officers involved. These officers didn't do anything wrong. The city didn't do anything wrong. And it's some ambulance-chasing lawyers trying to make a lot of money,” said the mayor.
The mayor added that he has already spoken with New York City Law Department head Zach Carter about “changing the approach immediately.”
Police union leader Patrick Lynch had also called for an end to the lawsuits back in September.
“These ‘quick buck’ cases bank on the City’s policy to settle so called ‘nuisance’ suits for economic reasons rather than to fight them to conclusion,” Lynch wrote in a letter sent to the Corporation Council and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.
“The end result is a cottage industry in the legal community of generating baseless suits for economic gain that have a secondary impact of seriously injuring the reputation of good police officers who often are not given the opportunity to defend themselves.”