The city of Minneapolis may have to pay out nearly $35 million in settlements for police officers and firefighters who left their departments following the riots that broke out after the death of George Floyd.
Attorney Ron Meuser represents around 200 officers and firefighters who left their jobs during last year’s riots. He said local authorities have begun signing off on worker’s compensation packages that average $175,000.
Some individual payouts are larger. One officer, for example, reportedly netted $250,000 for his or her damages, according to Fox 9. In total, the settlements could cost the city upward of $35 million.
Meuser said his clients are seeking settlements with the city because they suffered physical ailments and post-traumatic stress disorder after Minneapolis’s Third Precinct was burned to the ground.
He said many of the officers he represents would prefer to return to their jobs, but they feel like they cannot because of the anti-law enforcement sentiment that took over Minneapolis last year.
“I think they felt for a long, long time that the community doesn’t want them, doesn’t respect them, and doesn’t care about them,” the lawyer said.
City officials would not comment on the settlements, saying they contain “private information” about city employees.
“We’re pretty constrained in what we can say publicly about issues that include private information from city employees,” Minneapolis City Council President Lisa Bender said last month.
Cops nationwide have been leaving the force in record numbers. In New York City, roughly 15% of the police department retired or filed paperwork to leave the department in 2020, and now officials are having a hard time recruiting new officers.
“Cops are forming a conga line down at the pension section and I don’t blame them,” Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said. “NYPD cops are looking for better jobs with other departments or even embarking on new careers.”