Washington state police officer injured while escorting Kamala Harris about to lose health benefits

"I am sure if somebody from the Vice President's office picked up the phone and called the city of Bellevue and said, ‘Hey, don't cut this guy's benefits’ …you think that would move the needle one direction or another.”

A Washington police officer is about to lose his health benefits while still recovering from injuries he sustained while escorting Vice President Kamala Harris’ motorcade. 

Motorcycle officer Kevin Bereta from the Bellevue Police Department was working as the motorcade’s security detail surrounding when Harris visited Seattle in August to fundraise for the Biden Victory Fund’s 2024 re-election campaign and to discuss climate change to mark the one-year anniversary of President Joe Biden signing the Inflation Reduction Act. The benefits are set to expire Friday. 

According to his attorneys, “Per protocol, he was not traveling the posted speed limit but was exceeding it. As he began traveling across the ramp, his motorcycle struck the side of the ramp, and he was ejected. His arms moved along the top of the old 27” tall railing, and he tried to grab onto it without success. Current code for railings is 42” tall.”

“Because the railing was too short, he slid over the top and plunged 60 feet onto the highway below.” 

He landed on the concrete and an oncoming vehicle was able to stop and avoid hitting him but he suffered severe injuries to his back, leg, and shoulder from the fall, and months later is still fully disabled and unable to return to work. 

Bereta’s attorney Mo Hamoudi told The Ari Hoffman Show on Talk Radio 570 KVI, “This is a crisis what's happening here…he's losing his benefits, and he's going to have to go on COBRA. And if anybody knows anything about COBRA, it's very expensive coverage. It's going to run him about a couple of thousand dollars a month.” 

He added, “It's also not the police department's responsibility, it's the city's responsibility. The police department has been very supportive of Kevin. It's that they (the city) are not agreeing to extend those benefits. It's a contract issue. And as we know, any contract can be modified and changed. An exception can be made.” 

“He had a couple of surgeries…he is in a wheelchair. He injured his spine. It was a burst fracture of his spine…it's the type of injury that the road to recovery is going to be quite long.” 

Hamoudi noted that Bereta’s wife Jenny, an ICU nurse, is now only able to work part-time so she can care for her husband and their three kids. 

Hamoudi added that the officer and his legal team haven’t heard from anyone in Harris’ office. 

“We haven't heard anything from them. I mean, I am sure if somebody from the Vice President's office picked up the phone and called the city of Bellevue and said, ‘Hey, don't cut this guy's benefits’ …you think that would move the needle one direction or another.” 

Bellevue City officials said in a statement to KOMO News:  

“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. In addition, the City of Bellevue works very closely with injured employees to explore all options and ways to prolong their city-provided benefits to the greatest extent possible, which includes offering light-duty work when appropriate as a means to retain city-provided health coverage. 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.” 

The Bellevue Police Foundation has been collecting donations to support Bereta and his family during his recovery, and a GoFundMe has been set up to help raise funds.


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