Feb 17, 2021 - News
Lawsuits against Des Moines cops could get pricey for taxpayers
Illustration of money falling out of a wallet with a police badge
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Des Moines, Iowa recently hired three lawyers at $150 an hour to represent police in two high-profile lawsuits alleging misconduct, according to city documents.

Why it matters: Taxpayer costs for litigation and potential settlements in the cases could be significant. And the lawsuits could influence long-running tensions between police and the public.

The lawsuits allege:

  • Video evidence was previously withheld that shows officers made an illegal stop that resulted in the conviction of a Black man for a traffic offense.
  • People were wrongly tear-gassed, beaten and arrested by at least 16 officers in last year’s civil unrest that followed George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.

Worth noting: Multiple other lawsuits against Des Moines police are pending — and some name a few of the same officers.

This story first appeared in the Axios Des Moines newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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