The 57 Buffalo cops that resigned from the emergency response unit did it for at least partially economic reasons. Their legal bills won’t be back-stopped by someone else. If they get caught on camera rioting and beating the shit out of innocent civilians, they are taking on the financial risk of at least defending themselves. That is expensive.
“We quit because our union said [they] aren’t legally backing us anymore. So why would we stand on a line for the City with no legal backing if something [were to] happen? Has nothing to do with us supporting,” said another….
we did obtain an email sent to PBA members by Evans.
“In light of this, in order to maintain the sound financial structure of the PBA it will be my opinion the PBA NOT to pay for any ERT or SWAT members legal defense related to these protests going forward. This Admin in conjunction with DA John Flynn and or JP Kennedy could put a serious dent in the PBA’s funds.”
I am thinking as an insurance guy at the moment as that is my training. Pressure on the risk bearing entities is a key leverage point. Liability insurers could be looking at very large pay-outs over the next year or two from the caught on camera police actions of the past week. Liability insurers really don’t like to write policies where the premiums are systemically underpriced for correlated, predictable and solvable pay-out events.
What does this mean?
If counties, cities and towns’ don’t reform their police practices and union contracts, liability insurers will rate future contracts as high risk. High risk insurance contracts mean high rate increases. Insurers will insure almost anything as long as the premium is sufficient to cover both expected risk and random tail risk over a big pool. Counties, cities, and towns that have policies, procedures and accountability systems in place that minimize the probability of frequent and correlated liability events will see lower insurance rates.
Figuring out where the insurance contracts are is not a today problem. It is not a this week problem. It is a now and the next three to five year process. However, active pressure on liability insurers to correctly rate their premiums for correlated police brutality risk and pushing for reforms that will lead to lower local liability premiums is an avenue of progress that can be done in conjunction with other reforms.
Be brave, be safe, be kind.