LASD Legal Payouts Topped $50 Million Last Year

Litigation costs involving the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department soared again in 2016, contributing to a massive increase in legal payouts over the past five years. According to the Los Angeles Times, those payouts have climbed from $5.6 million in 2011-12 to nearly $51 million in 2015-2016.

The number of lawsuits filed has dipped somewhat since the resignation of former Sheriff Lee Baca, but the monetary figures continue to climb. For the fiscal year that ended June 2016, there were 132 filings. In 2012-2013, the number of cases filed was 25% higher.

“This is money that could be spent to help the community,” said Sheriff Jim McDonnell, who was elected after Baca’s resignation in 2014.

The figures were provided by the County Counsel’s Office. 75% of the judgements and settlements involve excessive use of force.

The largest payout last fiscal year went to the family of Alfredo Montalvo, who was shot and killed by deputies during a pursuit in Lynwood in 2009. Although the Sheriff’s Department concluded that its deputies had acted in accordance with department policy, a jury awarded the family $8.8 million.