Indianapolis paying out millions in costly lawsuits
Police lawsuits are costing Indianapolis millions of dollars and taxpayers are footing the bill.
The City of Indianapolis is staring down a list of lawsuits with claims of nearly $38 million, most of which are against IMPD.
For more than a month, 13 Investigates has been asking the city for a list of its pending lawsuits and settlement amounts paid over the last year. City Corporation Counsel has refused, calling the requests "vague."
Now information is slowly trickling out, including more on the victims waiting years to have their cases resolved.
Jenny Foster hasn't received a dime from the City of Indianapolis.
It's been almost two years since an off-duty rookie Indianapolis police officer ran a red light in his cruiser and broadsided Foster's car. The officer told investigators he was trying to dislodge his flashlight from under his brake petal when he rolled through the intersection at 91st and Meridian.
Foster spoke with 13 Investigates while in rehab for a broken pelvis, weeks following the accident.
"Whether it was a police officer or a regular citizen, if someone ran a red light than there was negligence," Foster told 13 Investigates.
13 Investigates has learned Foster is one of 75 people with pending lawsuits against the city. Based on new numbers released, claimants are seeking more than $38 million in negligence claims.
Forty-six, or nearly three out of every four, of those lawsuits are against IMPD.
Within the past year, the city has paid out $4.1 million, most of it to victims in the Officer David Bisard crash and high ranking officers demoted in that case. Another chunk was paid to Brandon Johnson, the teen that alleged police brutality.
"We really think that by looking at discipline and just doing a whole review of our litigation, we'll be able to get and pinpoint and hopefully find some areas where we can train on and improve," said Deputy Public Safety Director Valerie Washington.
13 Investigates has learned that three years of haggling are now over for the family of Amber Raines. The city paid that family $400,000.
Raines was killed when a police officer slammed into her on Keystone Avenue on New Years Eve Night in 2008. The officer was responding to a burglary run with headlights on, but no emergency lights or sirens.
Police dispatch records show it took the officer involved in the crash just 41 seconds to cover a one-mile stretch before the accident. Experts hired by the Raines family said the only way that could happen is if the officer was speeding at 95 miles an hour.
Raines' family and attorney are not allowed to disclose details of the 2011 settlement, but early on the city ruled the crash that killed Amber was "non-preventable" because she was jaywalking.
"Well, if she was at the corner walking across the right way, she would have still got killed, no matter what. There's no control of the car if she's doing 95 mph. How was she going to be able to stop?," said Raines' mother, Gidget Mullarkey.
The family's payout finally came after 13 Investigates revealed the police officer who struck and killed Amber had been involved in two prior preventable accidents and ordered back to driver's training.
It's those kinds of accidents and lawsuits the city's Public Safety Department is now hoping to prevent.
IMPD promised back in 2011 to better track officer discipline, including the number of crashes they're involved in, but no conclusive action was taken.
The new director is now proposing a new matrix system to better track officer behavior and implement corrective training.