Over 150 Minneapolis Police Officers Seek Disability For PTSD After George Floyd Killing

by Leah Groth
Minneapolis police
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

After George Floyd’s murder, in which three Minneapolis police officers were charged, over 150 others are seeking disability benefits claiming PTSD

On May 25, Minneapolis Black man George Floyd was killed when a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, pinned his neck to the ground with his knee for eight minutes. Following Floyd’s tragic and senseless death, protests erupted around the world, in an effort to raise awareness about racism and police brutality. Chauvin, along with three other Minneapolis police officers were charged with Floyd’s death, and the city made a few policy changes — including the banning of chokeholds. Now, other Minneapolis police officers are claiming that they have suffered as a result of the aftermath of Floyd’s killing and are battling post-traumatic stress disorder.

Attorney Ron Meuser, who is representing over 150 men and women, revealed in a statement on Friday that his clients are seeking disability benefits due to the fact that they are at “their breaking point.”

“In the last six weeks, over 150 police officers have started the process of filing physical and mental disability claims, the majority of which encompass officers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is an astronomical number of people given there are approximately 850 officers within the Minneapolis Police Department,” Meuser said.

Meuser claims that many of the officers he’s representing were at the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct on the night law enforcement fled before it was burned down by demonstrators, and thought they were going to die.

“Officers were taking such extreme steps as writing final notes and texts to loved ones – fearful they wouldn’t make it home, and some saying they felt they needed to reserve their last bullet rather than being beaten to death. They were left alone in the 3rd Precinct without support from city leaders. Officers worked 12-hour-plus shifts for days upon days, without relief or clear leadership,” he said.

Meuser claims that the series of events following the murder have resulted in serious consequences on the mental and physical well-being of his clients.

“I’m seeing PTSD symptoms of officers with highly diminished capacity to live and socialize, extraordinary rates of divorce, and alcohol dependency — just to cope. It is an emotional crisis that cannot and should not continue,” he continued.

Meuser also criticized the potential plans of defunding the police department and replacing it with an alternate form of public safety.

“The men and women in public safety who give their heart and soul to serve Minneapolis and keep it safe deserve to have Minneapolis leaders to step up and supporting them. Instead of spending time plotting the dismantling of the force, let’s come together to improve community trust and work towards a safer city for all,” he said.

A number of people voiced their opinions on the matter, pointing out that police officers weren’t the only ones suffering from PTSD and that the claims seemed a bit ironic.

If the officers are granted disability, they would be able to claim 60 percent of their average salary over the next 20 years, per PERA duty disability. Additionally, if they also file for workers’ compensation, the difference between that and their full salary could be made up.