by Scott McClallen
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 short-staffed.
Minneapolis city leaders have begun signing large workers’ compensation packages for dozens of departing police officers, Fox 9 reports.
In an interview with Fox 9, Eden Prairie Attorney Ron Meuser estimates settlements for the roughly 200 first responders he’s representing who claim physical or mental injuries within the last year could near $35 million.
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 Minneapolis Police Department’s (MPD) Third Precinct.
The Minneapolis’ City Council’s agenda for May 14 shows it will consider seven first responder settlements totaling $1.2 million.
The city is spreading out the payouts over several years, but the settlements will likely leave 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 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 Minneapolis Police Department 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 last year for taxpayers.
However, Gov. Tim Walz also spent $11.7 million to rebuild Hennepin County after May 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.
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.