Minneapolis first-responder settlements could top $35 million, attorney says

Minneapolis city leaders have begun signing large workers’ compensation packages for dozens of departing police officers.

Minneapolis Police Department/Facebook

(The Center Square) — The true cost of the riots after the death of George Floyd in police custody is starting to pile up on taxpayers.

This fallout could leave the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) short-staffed.

Minneapolis city leaders have begun signing large workers’ compensation packages for dozens of departing police officers, Fox 9 reported.

In an interview with Fox 9, Eden Prairie Attorney Ron Meuser estimated that settlements for the 200 first responders he’s representing could near $35 million. These are first responders who are claiming physical or mental injuries within the last year.

Some of those injuries are physical, while others are mental, including post-traumatic stress following the rioting subsequent to Floyd’s death and the torching of the MPD’s Third Precinct.

The Minneapolis City Council’s agenda for May 14 shows that it considered seven first responder settlements totaling $1.2 million.

The city is spreading out the payouts over several years, but the settlements will likely leave the MPD short-staffed during a year of rising violent crime.

In Minneapolis, there were 82 homicides in 2020, the third-worst year in city history, according to MPD data. The Star Tribune reported that 97 homicides were recorded in 1995, the worst year on record, followed by 83 in 1996. In 2019, there were 48 homicides.

Two months after the death of George Floyd, 200 police officers out of the roughly 850 officers serving in the MPD filed paperwork to leave their jobs with the department.

Previously, Minneapolis’s average annual separation was between 40 retirees and 45 retirees annually.

It’s been an expensive year for taxpayers.

That doesn’t count the roughly $13 million taxpayers footed for National Guard riot response or the more than $500 million of damage caused by riots.

However, Gov. Tim Walz also spent $11.7 million to rebuild Hennepin County after May’s riots. Republicans have blamed Walz for not activating the National Guard sooner in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Minneapolis settled with Floyd’s family for a record $27 million.