A $5 million settlement has been reached between victims seeking redress for wrongful death after their loved ones were murdered by rogue NYPD detectives, Louis Eppolito and Stephen Caracappa, acting as hitmen for the mafia in the 1980s. The settlement comes four months after a federal judge granted the city’s summary judgment motion on state law claims but denied with respect to federal municipal liability claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. As reported by the New York Law Journal on the plaintiffs’ theories of New York City’s responsibility:
"On the subject of municipal liability, [Judge] Dearie said plaintiffs were advancing arguments under two theories: one being that Ward [the NYPD police commissioner] was ‘deliberately indifferent to the obvious red flags’ in Eppolito's disciplinary hearing and the other being that Ward and other top police officials ‘encouraged (or were deliberately indifferent to) the entrenched practice of tolerating corruption to avoid bad press.’"
The judge had found that a question of fact existed as to whether the murders would have occurred but for the NYPD’s acquiescence of the above behavior, clearing the way for what likely would have been a highly scrutinized trial probing sensitive and topical issues around police-community relations, which will now be averted with the settlement.
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