Supporters of a proposal that would require Minneapolis police officers to carry professional liability insurance will get a final chance to take their issue to voters after the Minnesota Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal on the issue.
Leaders of the Committee for Professional Policing, which drafted the charter amendment proposal, said Thursday that their appeal would be heard by the state’s highest court early next week. The group gathered enough valid voters’ signatures to forward their plan to the ballot in November, but City Attorney Susan Segal and a majority of council members said it conflicted with state law and did not forward it for a vote. Advocates appealed that decision, but Hennepin County Judge Susan Robiner sided with the city.
The proposal would allow the city to cover the base rate of insurance for officers, but those involved in lawsuits involving allegations of misconduct would be responsible for paying higher premiums. Members of the Committee for Professional Policing said that risk to officers’ wallets would prompt a decline in cases of police misconduct.
Attorneys for the city, meanwhile, argued that the plan conflicts with state law requiring cities to defend and cover employees in legal matters. In addition, they said tweaks to the city’s insurance requirements would require the city to bargain with the police union — and could leave officers on the hook for paying for lawsuits that end up being thrown out.
Dave Bicking, the committee’s board chairman, said his group is confident it will win the appeal.
“We’ve always been the underdogs — and we’re used to a long line of small defeats before a big victory,” he said. “We will continue the struggle for real police accountability in Minneapolis.”