MPD watchdogs want cops to pay out of own pocket in misconduct cases

Categories: Crime, Minneapolis
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Now here's a question worth millions: What's the best way to police the police?

Communities United Against Police Brutality is pushing an amendment to the Minneapolis city charter that would force cops to carry professional liability insurance and pay out of their own pockets when they're found to have mistreated civilians. With enough signatures, it could end up on the 2014 ballot.

SEE ALSO: St. Paul cop may have accidentally shot St. Thomas student


Between 2006 and 2012, according to one analysis, the city paid nearly $14 million in settlements in connection to misconduct cases.

Eric Schiltz argued on Southside Pride that it has been "disrespectful" to ask taxpayers to pay for the city's mistakes. He's the self-described "project manager" on the potential amendment, and explains it this way:
The city could pay for the base rate of the insurance, but officers would be responsible for any additional premium due to claims or complaint history. This would make police officers directly accountable for their conduct and ease the burden on taxpayers.
Doctors, nurses, lawyers, and other professionals have to carry their own insurance, he said, so why not cops?

A statement released by CUAPB argues that the bad apples "who continue to abuse their power in uniform would be forced out, as their insurance rates would become too costly for them to remain in the department or they became uninsurable."

Minneapolis police officials declined to comment. A message left with John Delmonico, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, was not immediately returned Monday. 

The idea of cops carrying their own insurance came up briefly during the Minneapolis mayoral election, but most of the candidates who were asked about it seemed skeptical. Bob Fine told the Twin Cities Daily Planet that the problem lies with police training and the complaint review board, which "doesn't have the teeth it needs to reprimand bad behavior."

Mayor-elect Betsy Hodges has thrown her support instead behind equipping street patrol officers with body cameras as a way to both protect officers and help get to the bottom of misconduct complaints.

Click through to the next page to see the full wording of what's being proposed

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23 comments
jcarolnye
jcarolnye

The title shows a misunderstanding of the proposal, which is to have officers insured by the city but be required to pay a premium when found guilty of acting outside the MPD Code of Conduct. It's the same as car insurance. The company pays for the accident and you pay a higher premium because you are a bad risk.  Simple.  An officer who does his/her job correctly has no worries. In a majority of cases that end up going against the officer, there has been clear willful harm intended toward the victim. These officers should have consequences, especially when they repeat the behavior over and over. That is when they become unemployable. Those posting objections but no real facts are not convincing anyone.

jnye2478
jnye2478

This system of accountability is really quite fair.  It benefits good cops, who end up not having to pay anything if they follow the code of conduct laid out in the police policy manual. They also will be able to report misconduct by fellow officers without fearing retaliation. The Civilian Police Review Authority was discarded by the City Council and replaced by a totally opaque system called the Office of Police Conduct Review. Our city government can not be entrusted with discipline of the police and common sense dictates that the police should not be involved in their own discipline.


TC4L
TC4L

The punishment on guilty cops needs to increase.  Crooked cops may think twice when they remember a fellow crooked cop who served real time for assulting someone.

Chris Welton
Chris Welton

Get rid of the chief, gut the force and hire new cops. And yes, fine the fuck out of them if they do wrong. The tax payers should be the ones footing the misconduct suits.

mgresist
mgresist

This article greatly mischaracterizes our proposal.  We are not calling on police to pay directly for "the city's mistakes."  We are proposing that police be required to carry professional liability insurance, with the base rate paid for by the city and any additional premiums due to officer claims or complaint history payable by the officer.

As it stands now, the city is self-insured so all payouts for police misconduct come directly from the general fund (from property taxes).  At any time, the city could choose not to indemnify an officer.  This proposal is actually a win-win for officers, who would have guaranteed coverage and for taxpayers, who would no longer carry the burden of liability for officer conduct as the POLICY would pay for judgments and setlements, not individual officers.  However, just as bad drivers have higher premiums, certain officers who have repeat histories would see their premiums go up. This would serve as an incentive for officers not to engage in misconduct.

As it stands now, there is no political will to discipline miscreant officers.  This measure will at least add an element of outside risk management to the problem.

One final note--Eric Schiltz is not the "self-described" project manager for this effort and the blogger's tone was highly disrespectful and inappropriate in this regard.  In point of fact, the Committee for Professional Policing has hired Eric as Project Coordinator.

John Wolfsberger
John Wolfsberger

Having cops pay for misconduct settlements is a horrible idea. It would be like doctors paying for malpractice settlements. No one would do the job. Insurance pays the risks for a reason. The practitioners (docs and cops) MUST operate under the assumption that they can do their job without the fear of financial ruin every time someone sues. Doctors have malpractice insurance. Cops have the taxpayers. You may not like it, but you pay for both. Renegade cops are bad, but good cops must be allowed to do their jobs and not have to think about losing their livelihood when doing it.

Toya Lovinglife Porter
Toya Lovinglife Porter

I think this is a great idea if it works. The police have done things to my family recently that I know is illegal from speaking to a paralegal that just won quite a few cases against the gang task force. This police brutality needs to stop!!

xxxerocool
xxxerocool

I love this idea, given how the police are all about personal responsibility. I'm betting they will be against it, even if they were given raises to balance the difference.

Kent Erickson
Kent Erickson

They should be held to a higher standard then the public, given their uniform and the job they are tasked with doing and all the freedoms they are afforded that average citizens aren't. They also should be taught that they work for us and the public is paying their paychecks. Someone needs to remind them of this. We aren't their subordinates. We don't answer to them, they answer to us.

CinBlueland
CinBlueland topcommenter

Keep it up. N. Side and S. Mpls will be abandoned. I'm not saying all cops are perfect but the professional "watchdog/complainers" who receive a "Settlement / shut up and go away award" every time a cop sneezes in their direction are not helping.

The camera idea was a good one and think they should keep it . F the union.

But basing liability Ins on "complaints".. Nobody will work the bad neighborhoods. They'll show up to clean up the mess and only listen to those that approach them but they won't actually try to do anything like active enforcement. 

Then we'll see more curbside wailing demonstrations about "Why oh why, how could this happen?" after the little thugs get to run amok. Ellison can make an appearance .. spout the usual crap about how he's going to ask for changes and then promptly disappear again to DC

Marsh Mallow
Marsh Mallow

They shouldn't be able to keep getting by with their bullying and harassment...they should have consequences just like we do and even worst when they abuse their authority in uniform... we are suppose to depend on them to protect serve ...well who helps us when it's them...

Jilali Gawawi
Jilali Gawawi

What about a dual approval, from office before each and every single arrest! Is justice expensive too?!

mgresist
mgresist

@John Wolfsberger 

Please see my post.  We are not proposing cops pay for misconduct settlements and judgments themselves.  We are proposing they have insurance, paid for by the city.  Right now, they don't.

bleh
bleh

@Toya Lovinglife Porter you're a silly criminal sympathizer. stay out of my community. 

bleh
bleh

@Patrick Kane you're obviously not very smart

Drewey
Drewey topcommenter

How many times do I have to tell you? It's a group home not a community.

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