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Wash. officer severely injured after falling 60 feet in crash to lose medical benefits

The city of Bellevue has asserted that it would be unfair to extend medical assistance for Officer Kevin Bereta, who was severely injured while riding a motorcycle on duty

By Joanna Putman

BELLEVUE, Wash. — A severely injured officer and his family are advocating for more health benefits from his department as his recovery stretches into its sixth month, KOMO News reported.

Bellevue Police Officer Kevin Bereta was severely injured in a crash in August 2023 while he was a part of the security detail for Vice President Kamala Harris on her visit to Seattle, according to the report. Bereta was on a motorcycle and was riding on an onramp when he hit the side of the ramp and was ejected.

He fell over the onramp and fell 60 feet onto the road below, according to the report. His back, leg and shoulder were injured in the fall and he is still unable to return to work.

Bereta’s attorneys are advocating for continued financial support as the department is scheduled to stop giving health benefits on March 1.

“They now have to come up with a couple thousand dollars a month for health insurance, and they can’t afford it,” Attorney Mo Hamoudi said. “Right now, what he’s trying to do is he’s trying to recover.”

The city issued a statement explaining the financial situation and defending its actions in Bereta’s case.

“When employees of the City of Bellevue are injured on the job, they are eligible for partial wage replacement and benefits coverage through the State Worker’s Compensation Program. Our city-provided benefits are consistent with other cities in the region, and they are based on best practices and medical insurance carrier contracts and are ratified in agreements negotiated with the unions representing our employees. The city has a duty to administer our policies consistently, and we will continuously evaluate these policies to ensure they reflect our value of commitment to employees and responsible stewardship to the community we serve ... The city does not arbitrarily choose to end health benefits for an employee but rather operates within established policies and contracts negotiated with our unions that are intended to cover typical circumstances. Thankfully, there are important community partners the city has coordinated with to support employees, particularly police officers when standard policies do not meet their needs.”

Hamoudi is pushing for the city to make an exception in Bereta’s case, according to the report.