EXCLUSIVE: City’s settlements in lawsuits against most-sued cop near $1.3 million

The city has quietly paid out $402,000 since April to settle six of the eight remaining lawsuits where NYPD detective Peter Valentin, a Bronx narcotics cop, is a named defendant. That brings the total payouts to $1.286 million. Valentin has been on modified duty since March after an Internal Affairs investigation found he and three other members of the team were conducting dubious raids.

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RICHARD HARBUS FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS The city has quietly paid out $402,000 since April to settle six of the eight remaining lawsuits where oft-sued NYPD detective Peter Valentin is a named defendant.

He’s off the streets, but the city’s most-sued cop is still costing taxpayers plenty.

Since April, the city has quietly paid out $402,000 to settle six of the eight remaining lawsuits where oft-sued NYPD detective Peter Valentin is a named defendant.

That’s on top of the $884,000 the city had already paid out to plaintiffs who said they’d been preyed upon by the Bronx narcotics cop — bringing the grand total to $1.286 million.

“We evaluated the individual merits of each of these cases and it was determined that settlement was in the best interest of all parties,” said Law Department spokesman Nicholas Paolucci.

A Daily News investigation earlier this year revealed Valentin was the most-sued member of the 34,000-plus police force — he’d been sued a whopping 28 times since 2006, and he was hit with a 29th suit in June, court documents show.

The most recent case to settle was Richard Velez and Jessica Cruz’s 2011 lawsuit, which alleged Valentin, 36, and members of his Bronx narcotics team had illegally raided their apartment not once, but twice that same year.

The city has paid nearly $1.3 million to settle lawsuits naming Valentin as a defendant.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWSThe city has paid nearly $1.3 million to settle lawsuits naming Valentin as a defendant.

In the first raid, the officers had a warrant targeting one resident of Velez’s four-bedroom apartment, but they arrested them all on drug and weapons charges and trashed the entire apartment after the officers found a small amount of marijuana and a BB gun in the roommate’s room, the suit says. The charges against Velez and his family were eventually dismissed, and the roommate was given the boot, according to the suit.

Two months later, the same officers raided and trashed the apartment again and took Velez and his adult son into custody for unknown reasons. They said they were driven around in a police van for several hours and then taken to the precinct stationhouse before they were released without being charged, the suit says.

The officers then spurred eviction proceedings against Velez, which were later settled, the suit says.

The city settled the family’s civil rights suit on Sept. 10 for a total of $230,000.

“They’re gratified that it’s over with,” said their lawyer, Marc Cannan. “To have it behind them is a big relief.”

The city to date has paid out an average of nearly $50,000 for every lawsuit that’s named Valentin.

The city admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement.

In all, the city to date has paid out an average of nearly $50,000 for every lawsuit that’s named Valentin.

For his part, Valentin was unconcerned about his title as the city’s most-sued cop when The News confronted him in February.

“I’m not aware of that,” he said. “Once it goes to court, I don’t follow it.”

The controversial cop was transferred from Bronx narcotics and placed on modified duty in March after an Internal Affairs investigation found he and three other members of the team were conducting dubious raids.

A Daily News investigation earlier this year revealed Valentin was the most-sued member of the 34,000-plus police force.
A Daily News investigation earlier this year revealed Valentinwas the most-sued member of the 34,000-plus police force.

The status of the investigation is unclear, but a law enforcement source said Valentin is still on modified duty.

Before his new assignment, Valentin had also been one of the NYPD’s highest overtime earners.

He put in for 585 hours (more than 3 1/2 months) of OT in 2013 and 618 (almost four months) in 2012 — adding $38,617 and $39,322 to his annual base salary of $87,278, records show.

 

 

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