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Police Misconduct Costs Prompt U.S. Cities to Increase Taxes

  • New Orleans and Cleveland under pressure from consent decrees
  • Ferguson argues it can't afford federally mandated expenses
Ferguson Police Shooting Grand Jury Probe to Begin Tomorrow
Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

The costs of police confrontations with citizens are mounting in U.S. cities, forcing many to spend millions more on training and some to seek tax increases to pay for federally mandated reforms in departments that used excessive force.

New Orleans voters in April will consider raising property taxes to pay the costs of a 2010 consent decree, one of 16 enforced by the Justice Department in the past six years. Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson on Feb. 1 proposed a half-percentage point increase in the local income tax to improve policing, after a 2015 decree that will cost $10.6 million this year and a projected $7.1 million in each of the next four years, city documents show.