City lawyer: Minneapolis can’t force cops to buy own insurance

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Michelle Gross watching as investigators collect evidence from the scene of Philando Castile's shooting.

For the past several years, a group called the Committee for Professional Policing has been trying to get Minneapolis cops to carry their own professional liability insurance.

The city currently insures officers, but CfPP believes that if cops had to carry professional liability insurance, they would be a lot more cautious and courteous.

CfPP wants to put this question before Minneapolis voters on the November ballot. To do so, it needed to collect nearly 7,000 signatures by July 5. Then the city attorney, Susan Segal, would have to sign off on whether the proposal was legal.

Unfiltered police union boss Bob Kroll called the leaders of CfPP, Michelle Gross and David Bicking, “stupid” and “naïve” for spending as much time as they have on the referendum question. Kroll says no amount of signatures could supersede the city’s longstanding labor contract with police.

On Friday, Segal agreed with Kroll, issuing a legal opinion to squash the amendment. She said the proposal would indeed violate the terms of the police contract and would be illegal under the Public Employment Labor Relations Act (PELRA). She also cited state statute, which requires cities to defend officers “while they are acting within their scope of duty and in good faith.”

Gross and Bicking insisted that they would keep up the fight to get the question on the ballot. CfPP said previously that in the case Segal sided against them, Plan B would be to sue the city and expedite the case to get a state Supreme Court ruling ahead of the November election.

The city isn’t required to defend rogue cops, Bicking said in a statement.

“If you believe Ms. Segal’s reasoning, the city is liable for all police conduct even when it violates the law or policies. The only way that’s true is if police misconduct is part of the job — a proposition we can’t accept.”


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