New reports show that, adjusting for community size, Evanston police are just as likely get sued as Chicago police — but the Evanston cops are much more likely to win in court.
The Chicago Reporter today published a lengthy analysis of police misconduct lawsuits in Chicago. Since 2010, the paper says, 655 lawsuits have been filed against Chicago police, and the city has lost or made payments to settle roughly half of them.
That works out to roughly one case filed for every 4,000 of Chicago’s roughly 2.7 million residents.
Also today Evanston Police Chief Richard Eddington published a report on city police policies and practices.
Eddington says 18 lawsuits have been filed against Evanston police since 2010, but the city has lost only two of those cases — for a success rate in defending the suits of 89 percent.
The rate of cases filed in Evanston works out to one case for every 4,000 of Evanston’s roughly 75,000 residents — the same rate as in the much larger city to our south.
Eddington says Evanston’s Law Department typically defends police misconduct cases in house — while most other communities in the metro area are much more inclined to settle cases brought against them and to hire outside counsel to represent them in litigation.
Eddington claims the city’s use of in-house counsel has saved taxpayers millions in legal fees since 2010.
By contrast, the Chicago Reporter says Chicago spent more than $210 million to settle police misconduct lawsuits and almost $53 million more on outside attorneys to litigate the cases over the past three years.
A 2014 Better Government Association study said Evanston had paid out $16,500 in lawsuit settlements between 2008 and mid-2013, while also paying $359,347 in other costs, mostly for outside counsel.
That works out to a cost per resident of about $1 a year for Evanston residents versus $32 a year for Chicago residents. according to the Chicago Reporter study.
Of 132 Cook County communities included in the BGA study, Evanston was one of 18 that had 10 or more police misconduct lawsuits. The only other north or northwest suburban communities on that list were Des Plaines, with 10 suits and Schaumburg, with 12.