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Scores of Minneapolis officers seek disability for PTSD in wake of protests
More than 150 Minneapolis police officers are seeking disability benefits, claiming they are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder following the protests that have rocked the city and the nation after George Floyd's killing.
In a statement Friday, attorney Ron Meuser, whose law firm is representing the officers, said many are at "their breaking point."
"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). This is an astronomical number of people given there are approximately 850 officers within the Minneapolis Police Department," he said.
"I'm seeing PTSD symptoms of officers with highly diminished capacity to live and socialize, extraordinary rates of divorce, and alcohol dependency - just to cope. It is an emotional crisis that cannot and should not continue."
Meuser said that many of the officers filing claims were at the Minneapolis Police Department's 3rd Precinct the night law enforcement left the building before it was torched by demonstrators.
Minneapolis's police department has come under intense scrutiny since May 25 when Floyd, an unarmed black man, died after a white officer named Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd pleaded that he couldn't breathe.
Chauvin is facing murder charges, and three other officers who were at the scene have been charged with aiding and abetting murder.
The Minneapolis City Council is also mulling plans to defund the police department and replace it with a different system of public safety.
"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," Meuser said.
Advocates say the disability claims pale in comparison to trauma felt by communities of color, with some noting that the officers would be able to secure part of their salaries for several years if their claims are approved.