Tags: Law Enforcement | police misconduct | lawsuits | payouts | Massachusetts

Largest Payouts for Police Misconduct Lawsuits in Massachusetts

By    |   Wednesday, 19 Aug 2015 10:03 PM

Police misconduct in Massachusetts has resulted in millions of dollars in payouts for lawsuits, ranging from illegal strip searches to wrongful convictions and deaths at the hands of police officers.

The city of Boston paid out more than $36 million because of some 2,000 legal claims and lawsuits since 2004, according to The Boston Globe.

A $5 million amount was awarded to the family of Victoria Snelgrove, who was killed when people were reveling outside Fenway Park in 2004, the newspaper reported. The 21-year-old college student was in the crowd when police fired pepper-pellet guns to disperse revelers. She was struck in the eye by one of the projectiles.

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Another college student, David Woodman, died after he was arrested for public drinking following the 2008 Boston Celtics championship, according to the Globe. Police agreed to a $3 million settlement. Although Woodman stopped breathing during the arrest, an independent inquiry determined the death was caused by a pre-existing heart condition.

Michael O’Brien suffered brain damage following a beating by a Boston police officer in 2009. The officer wrapped his arm around O’Brien’s neck and squeezed his throat until it affected his breathing, which caused bleeding in the brain, according to CBS Boston. O’Brien reached a $1.4 million settlement with the police and the city in 2012.

Stephan Cowans received $3.2 million after he was wrongfully convicted of shooting a Boston police officer in 1997, The Boston Globe reported. In 2004, DNA evidence determined that evidence and fingerprints found at the crime scene did not match his and he was freed. Cowans was shot and killed in 2007, a year after receiving the payment.

James A. Haley received $3 million in 2013 after spending 34 years in prison for a fatal stabbing and shooting in 1971. His conviction was overturned after it was learned police interviews were not shared with Haley’s attorney.

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Howard Friedman, an attorney involved in many police misconduct cases in Massachusetts, reached a $1.16 million settlement from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in a class action suit for unconstitutional strip searches at the Franklin County Jail and House of Correction in 2011, according to a statement on his website.

Friedman’s firm secured a $10 million settlement on behalf of about 5,400 women illegally strip searched at the Suffolk County Jail. The jail changed its policies for female detainees following the lawsuit.

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Police misconduct in Massachusetts has resulted in millions of dollars in payouts for lawsuits, ranging from illegal strip searches to wrongful convictions and deaths at the hands of police officers.
police misconduct, lawsuits, payouts, Massachusetts
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2015-03-19
Wednesday, 19 Aug 2015 10:03 PM
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