Monday, January 12, 2015

Police Wiretapping Case Costs South Bend Taxpayers $1.6 Million To Date

A decision by a city employee in the administration of South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg to allow for the recording of phone conversations made between South Bend police officers is costing the city's taxpayers dearly in litigation costs. According to the South Bend Tribune, the city has spent about $800,000 defending the lawsuits, while it has paid out $810,000 to date in settlements paid to the aggrieved parties despite a decision made by federal law enforcement officials not to bring charges in the matter.

The issue began when the police communication's director, Karen DePaepe, overheard conversations between police officers that concerned her and decided to record them and turn the tapes over to the city's former police chief, Darryl Boykins. The city settled with four police officers who sued over the recording of their phone conversations for $500,000. It also settled with Boykins for $75,000 following his demotion as police chief, and it settled with DePaepe, who was fired from her job, for $275,000, who maintained she was defamed and suffered lost wages. DePaepe maintained that her recording of the conversations was not illegal. A federal judge has not yet ruled on that question.

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