Should police officers be held personally responsible when they mess up? This is the thirty-seventh episode of The LAVA Spurt, Hold Cops Responsible.

If you are harmed or killed due to the negligence of a doctor, that doctor is held personally responsible for that act. This is why doctors carry expensive malpractice insurance when they practice. If a doctor loses too many malpractice lawsuits, they can no longer get insurance for a reasonable rate, if at all, which means they can no longer practice medicine because most hospitals require a doctor to carry malpractice insurance, or some hospitals carry the insurance for the doctors. If that insurance is too costly for a specific doctor, the hospital will no longer cover that doctor. This is how it should be. While some states do require doctors who practice to have malpractice insurance, this is not necessary. If we had a true free market in medicine, we could shop our doctors with much better information. Think Consumer Reports for doctors in your area.

But, this brings me to my main point. If police officers were also held personally responsible for screwing up, like when they kill someone unarmed or beat someone for no reason, then there is no doubt these actions would happen with much less frequency. Last week, this happened in my old stomping grounds of Arkansas.

There have also been two other similar cases recently.

Back in February of this year, former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was told he must decide whether to pay $100,000 in damages, from his own pocket — stemming from a civil lawsuit involving an inmate abuse case — or face liens on his assets. 

In February of last year, a Judge awarded 19-year-old Dontrell Stephens a $22.4 million settlement for being shot and paralyzed by Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Deputy Adam Lin