Attorney for 150 Minneapolis Cops Who Filed for Disability Says Majority of Them Have PTSD

An attorney representing over 150 Minneapolis police officers who have filed for disability said Friday that most of the officers are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

"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)," Ron Meuser, a Minnesota attorney from the law firm of Meuser, Yackley & Rowland, said in a statement Friday.

"This is an astronomical number of people given there are approximately 850 officers within the Minneapolis Police Department."

The 150 police officers represent 20 percent of the police force in Minneapolis, which has been largely criticized ever since the police-involved death of George Floyd on May 25 while in custody.

Floyd died after ex-police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the back of his neck for several minutes, even though Floyd was handcuffed and lying face down on the ground. Chauvin has since been charged with second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Following Floyd's death, and after days of protests and riots that saw businesses looted and burned in Minneapolis, rioters set the Third Precinct, where Chauvin worked, on fire on May 28. Mauser said that many of the officers who have reached out to him to start disability claims were present at the precinct that day.

"Many of the officers I represent were at the 3rd Precinct the day and night it was abandoned. 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," Mauser said, adding that many of the officers were working 12-hour shifts due to the riots.

Mauser also stated that he sees PTSD symptoms in the officers who now have high divorce rates and have become dependent on alcohol "just to cope."

"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," Mauser said.

One of the most outspoken politicians calling for the dismantling of the MPD is Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN). At a June 6 rally, Omar said the Minneapolis Police Department was "rotten to the root."

"I will never cosign on funding a police department that continues to brutalize us...we need to completely dismantle the Minneapolis Police Department," Omar said. "The Minneapolis Police Department is rotten to the root, and so when we dismantle it, we get rid of that cancer, and we allow for something beautiful to rise, and that reimagining allows us to figure out what public safety looks like for us."

Newsweek reached out to Mauser, Omar, and the MPD for comment, but did not receive responses back in time for publication.

Third Precinct in Minneapolis
A protester lies on a gate outside the Third Police Precinct set ablaze by rioters on May 28, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during a protest over the death of George Floyd. An attorney representing over 150 Minneapolis police officers said many have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder following the unrest in the city. Kerem Yucel / AFP/Getty