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.

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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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