A committee of the Minneapolis City Council authorized paying another $1 million to former police officers claiming to have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder or other injuries, according to a report by the local Fox affiliate.
Fox 9 reports that the Policy and Government Oversight Committee approved the payments after a hearing Monday that focused on work comp payments on ongoing efforts to reform the Minneapolis Police Department.
A report presented during Monday’s meeting showed that total work comp payments have reached $28 million since the murder of George Floyd in May 2020 and the unrest that followed.
Councilmember Robin Wonsley reportedly said work comp settlements with former officers who are leaving the department have been a massive financial burden on taxpayers.
She said she was concerned about payments “going to officers that have done egregious acts of misconduct towards residents and also have not been held accountable.” Wonsley said she would work to “rein in the blank checks” the Police Department keeps signing.
Minnesota lawmakers in 2018 passed a law recognizing PTSD as a compensable condition for first responders. In 2019, lawmakers amended state law to create another presumption that PTSD is job-related for disability claims filed through the state’s Public Employees Retirement Association.
The Minnesota Reformer in August 2021 reported that the number of police and firefighters applying for disability tripled in the prior fiscal year, with 79% of applicants saying they couldn’t work because of PTSD.
The report claimed that first responders were using the PTSD presumption to successfully file a disability claim and using the disability finding to support their work comp claims.