Many in Detroit Irate Over Loss of Pension Benefits in Bankruptcy

The families of police officers and firefighters who died in the line of duty may lose their benefits under the city's bankruptcy plan.

Posted: 12/24/2013 12:10 PM EST

As bankruptcy proceedings go forward in Detroit, there is a growing outcry among families of the city’s police and firefighters killed in the line of duty who are due to lose their pension benefits.

The city is planning to cut the pension as well as health care benefits as a means of reducing Detroit’s $18 billion in long-term debt.

It is just one of the many aspects of bankruptcy that has many citizens in Detroit angry because of the impact it will have on working-class residents. Many officials and community leaders in Detroit, which is roughly 85 percent African-American, say that the cuts in benefits will cripple the incomes of many families.

“I think what they’re doing is unconscionable,” said the Rev. David A. Bullock, the pastor of the Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church and head of Change Agent Consortium, a civil rights organization in Detroit, speaking with BET.com.

“Many of us feared that the outcome of the emergency financial manager and the bankruptcy would be that the most vulnerable people would be caught in the crosshairs,” Bullock said. “It seems unfair that you have corporations that will benefit from the city of Detroit being in bankruptcy and those who are most vulnerable will be hurt.”

This development occurs just a few months after the city said it would make dramatic cuts in the health insurance plans of about 30,000 current and retired municipal workers.

The decision to file for bankruptcy was made by Kevyn Orr, who was appointed earlier this year as Detroit’s emergency financial manager by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder.

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Follow Jonathan Hicks on Twitter at @HicksJonathan

(Photo: AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

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