Minneapolis Police Want 'Duty Disability' for PTSD Over George Floyd Protests

Nearly one fifth of the Minneapolis Police Department are attempting to qualify for disability citing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of covering the George Floyd protests, according to reports.

At least 150 Minneapolis officers are seeking duty disability under the Minnesota Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) plan, with at least half of these already under doctor's orders not to return to work while they undergo treatment for PTSD.

Ron Meuser, who handles most disability claims for the Minneapolis Police Federation, claimed officers "did not feel they were going to come home" during the height of the riots.

Huge protests took place in Minneapolis in response to the death of Floyd, with similar demonstrations later taking place across the U.S. and rest of the world.

Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a white officer Derek Chauvin placed his knee on his neck for several minutes during an attempted arrest while the 46-year-old cried: "I can't breathe."

Meuser said that many of the officers he represents worked 17 days in a row during the disorder, often for as long as 12 hours a shift.

"It became almost too much to handle," Meuser told Fox 19.

Meuser said that many officers experienced the most trauma after the city's 3rd Precinct station was set on fire after officers abandoned it for their safety in late May.

"The symptoms didn't just start six weeks ago," said Meuser. "They've been dealing with symptoms for decades."

Meuser denied that filing for disability is a stunt or an excuse for the officers to stop working despite them feeling like they have been scapegoated by the City of Minneapolis.

"I've looked them in the eyes, not one of them is attempting to get out of working," said Meuser. "Every one of them, to a man and woman, said, 'I never thought I would be leaving this way.'"

Meuser said most of the officers seeking disability have served on the force for between 16 and 23 years.

Under PERA duty disability, officers would be able to claim 60 percent of their average salary for 20 years.

Minneapolis City Councilwoman Linea Palmisano expressed concerns of the financial impact of 150 officers being placed on disability.

"This keeps someone who is no longer working, at a significant expense to our city, and I fear with appropriate treatment could have recovered and been a meaningful contributor to our city," Palmisano told Fox 19.

Palmisano added that she believes that the officers' PTSD claims are genuine.

"This is too often a hidden ailment," said Palmisano. "And we sure don't want that because it comes out in people's lives and their work lives in a bad way."

On Thursday, Meuser's law firm tweeted a link offering advice on how a police officer, firefighter, or corrections officer can meet the "very specific guidelines" in order to qualify for disability benefits.

Newsweek has contacted the Minneapolis Police Department for comment.

Police officers block a road on the fourth day of protests on May 29, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Scott Olson/Getty