New bill would require NY cops to have personal insurance for liability suits

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Carl Campanile

State lawmakers are churning out more proposed laws to hold cops accountable for misconduct.

A bill introduced by state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx) would require police officers to obtain personal liability insurance to cover civil lawsuits filed against them for excessive force and other abuses as a way to deter misconduct.

Under current law, cops who are sued are represented by the city law department and taxpayers foot the bill for any verdict or settlement.

Biaggi’s proposal would require each officer to obtain individual liability insurance. The city or other local governments would still be required to cover the basic insurance policy to cover tort litigation costs.

But Biaggi said her bill would better hold officers accountable by requiring them to pay any increase in premiums related to payouts for wrongdoing.

“Officers who have misconduct claims brought against them may see their premium go up and will be required to pay those costs. The purpose of this bill is to establish a financial disincentive for police misconduct and create accountability for abhorrent behavior,” she said.

Between July 2017 and June 2018, New York City paid out $230 million in 6,472 cases for alleged misconduct or alleged wrongdoing by officers, according to a report released by city Comptroller Scott Stringer’s Office.

“While taxpayers bailout law enforcement who engage in misconduct, those same officers too often evade meaningful accountability,” Biaggi said.

The measure is just the latest in a slew of police accountability measures that were passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month

They include repealing the state’s controversial police records secrecy rule known as “50-a” that sealed off access to disciplinary records, banning the use of chokeholds and codifying Cuomo’s existing executive order granting the state attorney general the power to conduct independent probes of in-custody deaths.

Another bill proposed last week would strip officers of their pensions if found guilty of misconduct.

Momentum for the police accountability measures — stalled in Albany for years — was triggered by the outrage and protests over the police brutality death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.☁

NY Post

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