South Bend The City of South Bend has agreed to pay $575,000 in out of court settlements stemming from the wiretapping scandal at the police department.
The decision to settle comes before any decision on the part of the court as to whether the city did anything wrong.
The move settles two civil lawsuits filed by six plaintiffs. Plaintiffs in both suits will continue to participate in the court fight over whether the tapes should or should not be released to the public.
Fired-former police chief Darryl Boykins will be paid $50,000, while his attorney will receive $25,000.
A $500,000 payment will be split among four police officers whose phone calls were recorded, and the wife of one of those officers. The $500,000 payment will also cover the costs of the plaintiff’s legal representation.
Since day one, rumors have persisted that the recorded police department phone calls contained racial slurs.
Now, six sworn statements on court documents indicate otherwise.
“Under the settlement with Darryl Boykins, he acknowledges that he is unaware of any evidence that reveals that the wire-tap plaintiffs, i.e. the cops, used any racist word against him,” said South Bend Corporate Attorney Cristal Brisco.
Same goes for the four police officers and one officer’s wife who filed suit against the city. Tim Corbett, David Wells, Steve Richmond, Brian Young, and Sandy Young all signed statements that they were not aware of any evidence that the “plaintiffs used any racist word against the former chief.”
“When this case first started they were by some people villainized. They were made to be the bad guys, and there were some people who were trying to spread some rumors,” said Attorney Dan Pfeifer who represents the officers. “I think that the, the tide has clearly turned. These gentlemen are not villains.”
While the total settlement payout equals $575,000, the city administration considers that a bargain. “We estimate that we save close to $1 million dollars in anticipated legal fees of what would have been incurred to take this case to trial and win,” said Cristal Brisco.
“This entire controversy has been very costly not just in dollars and legal fees, but in its effect on the community,” said Mayor Pete Buttigieg, (D) South Bend. “That’s why the most important thing now is to try and find ways to contain those costs and find ways to enable the city to move on.”
A lawsuit filed by the South Bend Common Council is still active, along with the lawsuit of the former police department Communications Director Karen DePaepe.