6 Police Misconduct Settlements Worth Millions

PHOTO: Thousands took to the streets in cities across the United States demanding immigration reform at rallies held on International Workers? Day.
Albert Sabaté/ABC/Univision

When police abuse their authority everyone loses. Victims may get hurt or even lose their life, police damage their credibility and taxpayers end up shouldering huge payouts to victims and their families.

Last week, the Los Angeles Police Department settled a lawsuit brought against it by two women officers mistakenly shot at during the Dorner manhunt in February. The settlement will cost the city $4.2 million and attorneys called it "a bargain."

Here's a list of recent settlements paid out to victims of police misconduct.

PHOTO: Harbor Police boats patrol in San Diego Bay.
Port of San Diego/Flickr
Parents of Dancer Shot and Killed by Police After Jumping Ship Settle for $2.5 Million

Paul Hirschfield, 37, was one of the dancers on a boat chartered for a gay pride party in San Diego on July 19, 2010.

At about 11 p.m., he jumped into the San Diego Bay and was shot and killed by Harbor Police during an altercation as they were trying to get him out of the water.

Police said he fought with an officer and tried to grab his gun. Hirshfield's parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit, pointing out that he was unarmed and shot in the back.

The victims parents settled the case for $2.5 million.

PHOTO: Police investigate after officers mistakenly shot this pick up truck.
AP Photo/Chris Carlson
Women Shot at During Dorner Manhunt Settle for $4.2 Million

Two women mistakenly shot at by Los Angeles police during the manhunt for Christopher Dorner earlier this year reached a $4.2 million settlement.

Emma Hernandez, 71, and her daughter Margie Carranza, 47, where delivering newspapers when police officers fired about 100 bullets at their pickup truck on February 7, 2013.

Dorner reportedly drove a pickup truck, but the women's vehicle did not match the make, model or color of Dorner's.

Los Angeles city attorney Carmen Trutanich said the agreement was a "no brainer because costs were going to skyrocket."

"We got out of this thing pretty cheaply all things considered," he said according to the Los Angeles Times.

PHOTO: Los Angeles Police arrive with a search warrant to inspect a home.
AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes
$3.5 Million Settlement After Police Kill man Inside Connecticut House

Heavily armed police charged into a home in Easton, Conn. with guns drawn and flash grenades exploding when they shot and killed Gonzalo Guizan, who was "quietly watching porn" on TV at the time.

According to reports, the raid took place because police were under pressure to "do something" about Ronald Terebesi, the home owner. Terebesi would entertain exotic dancers in his home and was "considered a blot on an otherwise pristine neighborhood." He was also reportedly using drugs and his house had been shot at by the boyfriend of one of the dancers.

The Guizan family settled their lawsuit $3.5 million in February 2013.

PHOTO: Footage from a security camera that shows much of the altercation between Fullerton police officers and Kelly Thomas.
Pool/Pool
Homeless Man's Mother Settles for $1 Million

On July 5, 2011, Kelly Thomas, a 37-year-old homeless man with schizophrenia, was stopped by two officers for allegedly trying to break into cars at a bus depot in Fullerton, Calif.

The officers beat him and used a Taser several times, eventually leaving him unconscious. Thomas was treated by paramedics and was taken to the hospital, but died five days later after being taken off life support.

The City of Fullerton gave a $1 million settlement to Cathy Thomas, the victim's mother.

PHOTO: Celtics play a home game in Boston.
Adam Pieniazek/Flickr
Family of Deceased Beer-Drinking Celtics Fan Settles for $3 Million

David Woodman died after sustaining injuries during an arrest while celebrating the Boston Celtics 2008 NBA championships. His family settled a lawsuit with the city of Boston for $3 million.

Police apprehended Woodman who was drinking beer near the Fenway area with a group of fans. Woodman collapsed, according to reports, and was taken to a hospital where he died 11 days later.

An investigator's report concluded he died of a pre-existing heart condition. However, his family said they believed police lied about what happened during their son's arrest. Woodman had more than a dozen abrasions, bruises, cuts or lacerations that were not mentioned in the investigator's report.

PHOTO: A Chicago police vehicle parked on the street
MSVG/flickr.com
Chicago's Surpasses $27 Million Set Aside for Settlements in Less Than a Month

The city of Chicago has already surpassed the $27 Million it set aside for settlements in 2013.

The city reached settlements in two cases of police misconduct in January reaching $33 million. The first case settled for just over $10 million was for a man who had been wrongfully convicted for murder. A second $22.5 million settlement was reached for a woman with a bipolar disorder who was attacked, raped and injured when she fell from a 7th floor window after police released her in one of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods.

In March, Boston officials agreed to settle three lawsuits totaling $7 million. The largest of the three was for $4.5 million for the wrongful death of Rekia Boyd, who was shot by an off-duty cop. Boyd was walking on the street, when the policeman shot his weapon blindly over his shoulder at a group of men.

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