Minneapolis to pay $35M to police officers who left force amid George Floyd unrest: report

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Minneapolis leaders are working to sign off on workers’ compensation packages totaling close to $35 million to be paid to former police officers who left the force amid the civil unrest that happened in the wake of the death of George Floyd last May, according to a report. 

Some 200 former Minneapolis police and firefighters left the department after claiming to have suffered physical injuries or post-traumatic stress in the fallout that occurred after a bystander video showing then-Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck went viral, evoking consecutive nights of civil unrest that included the burning of the 3rd precinct.

Ron Meuser, an attorney representing the former law enforcement officers, is working to settle the workers’ compensations packages with City Hall, and settlements require approval by City Council. One package is for $250,000, though Meuser estimates settlements average about $175,000 each, Fox 9 Minnespolis reported.

City Council began signing off on settlements last month, though officials will stagger payouts over the next several years to ease the financial impact. “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,” Meuser told Fox 9.

Chauvin was convicted last month in the murder and manslaughter of Floyd and is now facing federal civil rights charges. During jury selection, Minneapolis officials announced a record $27 million civil settlement to be paid to Floyd’s family.

The Minneapolis Police Department experienced a mass exodus of officers following Floyd’s death. Just 645 sworn officers are currently out on the streets, as more than 80 remain on leave. Full capacity is 888. That falls in conjunction with the spike in violent crime in the city 

Mayor Jacob Frey and Ward 4 Councilmember Phillipe Cunningham shared a heated email exchange earlier in the week after Sunday night’s violence left one person dead and a total of seven shot across Minneapolis over the span of eight hours.  

“Why are Black lives in north Minneapolis not being prioritized urgently?” Cunningham wrote in an email to the mayor. 

But Frey shot back, arguing Cunningham’s public commitment to defunding and abolishing the police department, as well as his “absolute lack of support for adequate police staffing levels have detracted from the essential work at great cost to the city of Minneapolis.”

The effort to defund police is largely seen as being sparked by Floyd’s May 2020 death and the protests and civil unrest that followed. Between Dec. 11, 2020, and March 28 of this year, murders in the city rose 46% – to 19 – compared to the 13 reported during the same time period last year, statistics show. And going back further, there have been 49% more homicides since the initial budget cut in July 2020 – 58 murders between July 22, 2020, and March 28, compared with 39 reported year-over-year.

Total violent crime in Minneapolis between July 22, 2020, and March 28 was also up 22% year-over-year – 3,692 this year compared with 3,025 last year; the violent summer months appear to have caused the significant increase, an analysis of Minneapolis Police Department statistics show.

Fox News’ Stephanie Pagones contributed to this report.

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