Updated: July 02, 2020 10:27 PM
Created: July 02, 2020 10:10 PM
A Minneapolis-based attorney told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the city of Minneapolis could see "more than 200" police officers file "disability separation" claims and be off the streets within the next several months.
"I have, so far, handled more than 100 disability claims," attorney Ron Meuser said. "I have about five to seven officers calling me every day and within the next three to four months, as many as 200-plus officers from Minneapolis alone may be seeking to file a disability claim."
The claims would likely be PTSD-related and, under current state law, any first-responder who files a post-traumatic stress disorder workers' compensation claim is presumed to have gotten it while on the job.
Meuser said he has been handling retirement and disability claims for law enforcement agencies for 33 years and has never seen anything like the past 30 days coming out of the Minneapolis Police Department.
"If they lose one-fourth of their staff from patrols, it's going to be a challenge," Meuser said. "I don't know how they're going to properly staff and maintain a police department."
Meuser says he usually sees "about 10" disability claims per month, but that's among all of the law enforcement agencies across Minnesota combined.
"I have never seen anything like this from Minneapolis police in the past and not from any other single law enforcement agency," Meuser said.
Minneapolis City Council member Linea Palmisano told KSTP she has not seen the workers' compensation claims come into city hall yet, but said it will be a challenge if and when they arrive.
"Right now, under state law, first responders are presumed to have PTSD from an on-the-job experience," Palmisano said. "So as I understand it, they are not required to come back to work and could actually put in for their pension at retirement age while still receiving workers' compensation."
A Minneapolis police spokesperson said the department has not seen the number of disability claims as referenced by Meuser.
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