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Wrongful Death by Police Officers

 
 
gollum
 
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2017 09:07 am
Cities and States pay out a lot of taxpayer money paying for wrongful death of citizens by police officers. As a result the citizens either must pay higher taxes or receive less governmental services while the family of the decedent may become multi-millionaires.

I find it in incongruous that the families who were not deprived of millions of dollars are given such huge amounts of money while depriving the public.

Could the State enact a law to prohibit cash payments to such persons beyound their economic losses?
 
engineer
 
  3  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2017 11:57 am
@gollum,
I think you are thinking about it backwards. The purpose of the large financial payments are exactly to make the departments and tax payers feel pain. When the people have to pay large sums and the police department has to suffer consequences, there is incentive to change. There is plenty of history that says that otherwise people just shrug their shoulders and move one. As to the recipients, I think just about all of them would rather have their loved one back than the money.
gollum
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2017 01:49 pm
@engineer,
engineer-

Thank you.

1) Based on your claim of the purpose, why not have the offending police officer pay out all his earthly goods.

Wouldn't that have a more powerful impact on the future conduct of that police officer and that of his/her fellow police officers?

2) Why not have the money be paid not to the relative of the deceased who may not have suffered an economic loss, but to some societal purpose (e.g., feed the poor)?
engineer
 
  3  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2017 03:47 pm
@gollum,
1) Because our legal system expressly says that employers are responsible for the actions of their employees while they are at work. That is why Exxon was sued when a ship captain caused an oil spill. It would be very easy for businesses (and police departments) to avoid liability if this were not the case. They would just blame everything on the employee. Of course individuals can be held criminally responsible.

2) Because in a law suit, someone who sues must have standing. Local charities cannot sue the police for money because of misconduct unless it was directed at them. There are examples of people giving the money to charity and examples of people suing for $1 to make a point, but realistically, the family of the slain person is likely facing very significant hardship due to the murder of their loved one and they will benefit from the money.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  0  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2017 07:18 pm
@gollum,
gollum wrote:
Cities and States pay out a lot of taxpayer money paying for wrongful death of citizens by police officers. As a result the citizens either must pay higher taxes or receive less governmental services while the family of the decedent may become multi-millionaires.

I find it in incongruous that the families who were not deprived of millions of dollars are given such huge amounts of money while depriving the public.

If the public does not want to pay for the misconduct of the people that they hire to run society, then the public should strive to ensure that they hire people who do not commit abuses.

If the public hires people who go around committing atrocities, then the public is going to have to pay for those atrocities.

If you don't like paying for these atrocities, then get active in promoting local reforms so that fewer such atrocities occur.


gollum wrote:
Could the State enact a law to prohibit cash payments to such persons beyound their economic losses?

Probably, but such a law would be profoundly unjust. There would also likely be a shift towards federal civil rights lawsuits to compensate for the lack of a state remedy.
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2017 07:19 pm
@gollum,
gollum wrote:
1) Based on your claim of the purpose, why not have the offending police officer pay out all his earthly goods.

Wouldn't that have a more powerful impact on the future conduct of that police officer and that of his/her fellow police officers?

You probably could do that.

Criminals could wrongly ruin a police officer if they got lucky with a frivolous lawsuit though. You might find the police hesitant to protect you if they feared being ruined by an unjust lawsuit from a criminal.


gollum wrote:
2) Why not have the money be paid not to the relative of the deceased who may not have suffered an economic loss, but to some societal purpose (e.g., feed the poor)?

What about non-economic losses? Pain and suffering is real and should not be inflicted on people.
0 Replies
 
gollum
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2017 08:45 pm
@oralloy,
oralloy-

Thank you, though I disagree with you.
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2017 11:55 pm
@gollum,
You're welcome. It is difficult for me to respond effectively to a disagreement if I don't have details as to the nature of the disagreement. However, it is a virtual certainty that the only way you will be able to avoid higher taxes to pay compensation for atrocities carried out by public officials is to work to prevent those public officials from committing atrocities in the first place.

Look at it this way. If taxes to pay for wrongful death lawsuits are getting unbearable, that means that the police are wrongfully killing way too many people. The problem isn't the taxes; the problem is the wrongful killings.
gollum
 
  1  
Reply Thu 9 Nov, 2017 07:03 am
@oralloy,
oralloy-

Thank you.

Consider the Eric Garner case. A New York Police Officer was on his beat and he noticed Mr. Garner selling individual cigarettes, which is against the law.

The NYPD officer told Mr. Garner that he was under arrest. Mr. Garner resisted. Mr. Garner weighed 350 lbs. with numerous health issues. As the officer struggled on the ground to arrest Mr. Garner, he apparently put him in a chokehold. A chokehold is not illegal but is against police regulations.

Mr. Garner died in the struggle. Mr. Garner's family received $5.9 million from the taxpayers.
oralloy
 
  -1  
Reply Thu 9 Nov, 2017 08:57 pm
@gollum,
I've heard claims that the hold used on him was not actually a choke hold. I do not know enough about choke holds to assess the validity of this claim.

The city was wrong to pay the Garner family. They should have gone to court, as the officers did nothing wrong and the guy died of natural causes exacerbated by his struggle to resist arrest.
0 Replies
 
 

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