Over 150 officers from the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) have filed disability claims recently, most of which center around PTSD resulting from the George Floyd riots.
Officers say they feared for their lives and prepared to die on the night that the 3rd Precinct was overtaken and burned by rioters as law enforcement received minimal support from Minneapolis leaders. After this event as well as months of increased violence in the city, roughly 20% of the MPD’s officers have filed disability claims. MPD employs about 800 total officers, per the city.
“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 reserve their last bullet rather than being beaten to death,” says lawyer Ron Meuser Jr. in a written statement. Meuser’s firm represents 150+ the officers filing for disability.
Meuser’s firm represents many of the officers that were actually inside the 3rd Precinct as it was overrun and officers were forced to abandon it. “They were left alone in the Third Precinct without support from city leaders,” the lawyer says.
He also adds that during the riots, “Officers worked 12-hour-plus shifts for days upon days, without relief or clear leadership.”
However, it wasn’t just the early riotous nights of unrest that have left so many Minneapolis police officers mentally battered. “While law enforcement is a high-stress career, the last two months in Minneapolis have pushed many officers to their breaking point,” Meuser said, alluding to the increased rates of crime and wave of anti-police sentiment that have descended on the city.
“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,” the lawyer added.
In addition to issuing a written statement, Meuser also gave a press conference, Friday, during which he fielded questions from reporters.
“They’re not working,” Meuser said about the officers he represents during the press conference. “That is the issue that you the community must recognize because it’s a simple fact of manpower. If you have approximately 150 officers at this point that have gone off, or are in the process of going off, and I assure you that number increases on a daily basis… the city has to address the issue of manpower.”