Indiana Supreme Court rules cities can be held liable for officers’ crimes

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Supreme Court says local governments may be held liable for civil damages if police officers commit crimes while on duty.

The court ruled unanimously Thursday that the cities of Fort Wayne and Evansville can be sued by women who were raped by officers who, in both cases, were supposed to take the intoxicated woman to safety. The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports that in both cases, the officers were convicted of crimes.

Chief Justice Loretta Rush wrote in the ruling that since the cities benefit from the lawful exercise of police power, they also must bear the cost of the victims’ losses when that same power is abused.

The court remanded the merged case back to county courts for potential trials.