UPDATE: Settlement reached in South Bend phone tapes lawsuits - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Settlement reached in South Bend phone tapes lawsuits

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The city had a decision to make: either go to court, or settle two claims related to the police tapes fiasco that started back in 2011. They opted to settle.

South Bend has reached a settlement with the six plaintiffs in two cases connected to recorded phone conversations inside the South Bend Police Department.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg commented on the settlement, "This issue and the divisions that have been caused by this controversy are a distraction and a concern in the city. This enables us to solve two of those outstanding lawsuits from the city's perspective."

The controversy over the phone tapes resulted in then-Chief Darryl Boykins' demotion to Captain.  Boykins claimed in a lawsuit against the city that the demotion was racially motivated. Corporation Counsel Cristal Brisco read verbatim from the settlement, "Under the settlement with Darryl Boykins, he acknowledges that he is unaware of any evidence that reveals the wire-tap plaintiffs, i.e. the cops, used any racist word against him. So let that sit for a minute."

A group of Officers also sued the city, Boykins, and former Communications Director Karen DePaepe, saying the recorded phone conversations violated their rights.  The plaintiffs, which included former and current SBPD cops, claim Boykins recorded phone lines to find out whether his Division Chiefs were loyal to him, and to punish anyone who might be trying to seek his job as top cop.

All of those involved have agreed to drop their lawsuits as part of the agreement. The total settlement amounts to $575,000 for the plaintiffs. Boykins will receive $75,000The other plaintiffs will receive $500,000 to be split between them and their attorneys.

That money, paid by the city, is in addition to $140,000 in legal fees.  In a news conference held Tuesday morning, the city said they estimated the legal fees for the two cases would have been roughly $1 million if it went to court.

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