NYC Police Retirements Surged 411 Percent Since George Floyd Protests—Here's Why

Police retirements in New York City have surged dramatically in the wake of widespread Black Lives Matters protests that began in late May after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

"The NYPD has seen a surge in the number of officers filing for retirement. While the decision to retire is a personal one and can be attributed to a range of factors, it is a troubling trend that we are closely monitoring," the department told Newsweek in a statement.

The New York Post earlier reported that the NYPD has even taken steps to limit retirement applications, as they have surged 411 percent, compared with the same period last year. But the NYPD told Newsweek this was inaccurate.

"The New York City Police Pension Fund has not turned down any member of service who wishes to file for a service-related retirement," a spokesperson said in an email.

According to the spokesperson, there have been 306 retirements and 40 resignations, and 503 have filed for retirement, since May 25, when Floyd, an unarmed black man, died. In 2019, during the same period, there were 254 retirements and 49 resignations, and 287 filed for retirement.

NYPD officers
New York City police officers in riot gear form a line in an attempt to keep Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter demonstrators apart from each other outside of the 68th Police Precinct on July 12 in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn. Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis/Getty

That means the number of people filing for retirement since Floyd's killing was about 75 percent higher, compared with last year. However, in just the period from June 29 to July 6, 179 officers have filed for retirement, compared with only 35 during the same period in 2019. That represents a 411 percent increase over the same time frame last year, according to the Post.

"Of course, cops are retiring at a higher rate," Chris Monahan, president of the Captains Endowment Association, told CNN last week. "We've been abandoned by the NYPD and elected officials."

As large-scale demonstrations have occurred nationwide, New York City also saw large protests against what many activists see as systemic racism in policing and the justice system. Protesters have strongly criticized the NYPD, pointing to numerous well-documented instances of police responding violently to minorities and activists. During the height of protests at the end of May, Newsweek witnessed instances of NYPD officers brutalizing protesters unprovoked.

At the beginning of July, the city decided to slash about $1 billion from the NYPD budget. As part of the cut, the City Council significantly reduced spending on overtime for officers, by $352 million. The Post reported that this cut in overtime pay led at least some officers to file for retirement, in addition to the added stress from the protests and the associated criticism of the department.

The Police Benevolent Association told the newspaper that the increase in new retirements was "one answer to the question on every police officer's mind: How are we supposed to do our job in this environment?"

Paul DiGiacomo, president of the Detectives' Endowment Association, told CNN that "New Yorkers are losing their most experienced crime fighters because of continued violence in the city and the apathy of misguided elected officials."

Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant and adjunct professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan, shared similar thoughts with Fox News last week.

"It's no surprise that we're seeing this influx of retirements. I mean, it's just one thing after another that they just keep on piling on, whether it's the local politicians or the state politicians adding new laws and new rules," Giacalone said.