Faced with a $70 million budget gap, Mayor Cory Booker has proposed cost-cutting measures ranging from layoffs to shutting down city pools to wiping out the city's toilet paper budget.
But one important area for potential multi-million dollar savings hasn't gotten the attention it deserves: cutting the astronomical costs of police misconduct. Each year, Newark spends millions of dollars defending itself in lawsuits and paying out settlements to victims of police abuse.
The public hears little about police misconduct lawsuits because the vast majority of cases settle, and victims are typically forced to agree to remain silent as a condition of settlement. In addition, only settlements over $21,000 require approval from the city council. Public records about all settlements exist, but there is no central location, making it difficult for citizens who want to know the actual cost of police misconduct.