To the editor: The major hangup on the police reform bill remains whether police personnel can be sued for liability. To me, the answer seems fairly obvious.
For one thing, the concept of municipalities absorbing the liability is ridiculous. Why should a community have to pay for police infractions? The liability should rest upon the shoulders of the offenders. So how do we protect a cop and his family from bankruptcy that rests on the decision of a jury? A jury that needs to consider the preponderance of evidence as opposed to reasonable doubt; a jury that often needs not be unanimous in its verdict.
Again, the answer seems simple. First, qualified immunity should be removed. At the same time, police should be offered malpractice insurance. And, communities can decide whether said insurance be mandatory. And, communities can decide whether they want to contribute to the officers’ premiums.
Thus, cops won’t have to fear bankruptcy when they act. And, there are additional benefits. I’m not necessarily disparaging the capability of attorneys hired by police unions, but the attorneys utilized by insurance companies not only have the officers’ interests in mind, but also have giant insurance companies looking over their shoulders.
Furthermore, insurance companies can keep better tabs on bad actors; communities with bad cops could be easily and rapidly identified, and their premiums could be adjusted to reflect their records.
Now let’s concentrate on getting the tangerine traitor hauled off to jail.
Brattleboro, May 26