The hidden hand that uses money to reform troubled police departments

The city of Niota, Tennessee, population 700, has a police department with just three officers. So when two of them wound up in court in 2011 accused of beating up a local motorist, Niota had a huge problem. The motorist sued for $35 million dollars— more than 75 times the city budget.

Civil courts are a common path for police misconduct victims, costing major cities hundreds of millions of dollars over the past decade. Many early Black Lives Matter headlines are now linked to a monetary…

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