To the editor:
State Sen. Alessandra Biaggi has proposed S.8676, requiring New York Police Department officers to obtain and carry personal liability insurance in the event they are civilly sued for misconduct and other civil wrongs.
According to Sen. Biaggi, this “would create personal accountability for the New York City police department and save the city almost $250 million in claims paid out in court against police officers every year.”
This is just more bad legislation that Sen. Biaggi has proposed, sponsored and voted for in the past, like bail reform — which already has been amended — and tenant reform, which leaves thousands of owner-occupied two- to four-family rentals vulnerable to defaults.
This legislation is just a re-election stunt to pander to Biaggi’s core radical socialist movement.
Most liability insurance policies specifically exclude intentional acts. Therefore, even if they did obtain insurance, it wouldn’t cover their potential liability. No insurance company would even issue a policy that covers intentional acts that most police officers face in their day-to-day activities.
Even if they could get a policy, the premiums would be prohibitive for police officers based on their salaries. Where would it stop? Firefighters, sanitation workers, all city workers will now have to obtain insurance?
The city would still be liable for police officers’ misconduct through the legal theory based upon “vicarious liability,” and since New York state is a comparative negligence state, the defendants can obtain 100 percent of the verdict award from the city, even if the city was 1 percent liable.
These reasons, along with lowering police recruitment — which is the real reason behind this legislation — would be crazy and disingenuous, and doesn’t accomplish the goals of the proposed legislation.
Sen. Biaggi doesn’t care about the mechanics of the legislation, just the headlines it creates. This is just another dangerous and radical bill that Sen. Biaggi has been involved with. She is naïve and inexperienced, and can’t be trusted with proposing and voting in the state legislature.
The author lost to Alessandra Biaggi in the Democratic primary for the state senate seat, but will face her again in the general election as a Republican.