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Police arresting a protestor against police brutality. Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A new study has found that police brutality in cities like Chicago, Cleveland, Los Angeles and Milwaukee has cost taxpayers $1.87 billion by accruing bonds from financial institutions.

The big picture: Beyond the ethical and legal issues it presents, police brutality and misconduct is also a financial problem, and communities across the country are left to pick up the tab.

Methodology: Researchers at the The Action Center on Race and the Economy followed up on a Wall Street Journal story identifying the cost of police misconduct, and used Freedom of Information Act Requests (FOIA) along with documents from local and state governments to calculate how much departments were spending in settlements and interest payments to banks.

  • The report isn't comprehensive, said Carrie Sloan, a research director at ACRE. But to focus their research the team looked at cities and counties with high settlement costs, a high number of investigations from the Department of Justice, and high accusations of police abuse.

The findings: Banks like Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, and other smaller regional banks are profiting from growing interest on police brutality bonds. Cities often have to put out bonds, the study says, because they face big, unexpected payouts.

  • Many of the communities involved are over-policed, said Maurice Weeks, co-executive director of ACRE, and they end up losing money that could be put elsewhere.

Be smart: This report offers a new perspective on the issue of police accountability. Despite policy brutality being a hot-button issue in the U.S., officers' misconduct has yet to be reined in.

The bottom line: The study recommends that officers be mandated to take out individual liability insurance policies to clear settlement expenses. It also advises that governments hold officers accountable by being transparent about settlements, including identifying the officers responsible and how they're paid for.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

In photos: Protesters rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Chaz Neal, a Redwing community activist, outside the Minnesota Governor's residence during a protest in support of George Floyd in St.Paul, Minnesota, on March 6. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

Dozens of protesters were rallying outside the Minnesota governor's mansion in St Paul Saturday, urging justice for George Floyd ahead of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old's death.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start this Monday, with jury selection procedures.

Biden says $1,400 stimulus payments can start going out this month

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

President Biden said Saturday that the Senate passage of his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package means the $1,400 direct payments for most Americans can begin going out later this month.

Driving the news: The Senate voted 50-49 Saturday to approve the sweeping legislation. The House is expected to pass the Senate's version of the bill next week before it heads to Biden's desk for his signature.