Seven Minneapolis police officers have reportedly resigned amid nationwide protests over police brutality and racial inequality sparked by the death of George Floyd, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Insiders at the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) told the outlet that officers are feeling misunderstood and stuck in the middle of protests, the media, a state probe and city leaders after the killing of Floyd in Minneapolis by four officers, who have since been fired and face criminal charges in connection with his death.
Derek Chauvin, the veteran officer who held his knee against Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, has been charged with second degree murder and second degree manslaughter, while the other three cops face charges of aiding and abetting. The criminal charges were brought after protests demanding justice erupted in Minneapolis and over 140 cities across the country. In the past few weeks, protests have evolved to include calls to defund police departments across the country, and the Minneapolis city council was among the first to heed the call, voting to to “dismantle” the city’s police department with a veto-proof majority.
City Spokesman Casper Hill confirmed to the Star Tribune that the seven officers had left the department. Several of the cops said during exit interviews that there’s a lack of support from police leadership and city officials as the protests intensified.
The Star Tribune also reports that seven other officers are in the process of filing separation paperwork and that many more had to be convinced to stay on. Both detectives and officers are among those who have departed.
George Floyd was killed by former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin on May 25. Four former officers have since been arrested and charged for their involvement in the 46-year-old’s death, including Chauvin, who was initially charged with third-degree murder and second degree manslaughter.
On June 3, Minnesota attorney general Keith Ellison upgraded the charges against Chauvin to Second Degree murder for the death of Floyd on and also charged the three other officers involved, J Alexander Kueng, Tou Thao and Thomas Lane with aiding and abetting murder. The three officers were fired and have remained under investigation since the day after Floyd died.
Floyd’s death has sparked calls for the defunding and disbandment of the MPD, which is also facing a human rights investigation conducted by the state.
MPD Deputy Police Chief Henry Halvorson stated to the Star Tribune that earlier this month officers were walking off the job without filing paperwork. Currently, there are 850 officers in the MPD. The department also faces potential layoffs due to the coronavirus. At least 75 officers became eligible to leave the MPD with retirement benefits as of Memorial Day and there’s a 25-year low in new applicants, according to the Star Tribune.
However, police spokesman John Elder told the newspaper that the departures would not affect the department's ability to provide public safety services.
“There’s nothing that leads us to believe that at this point the numbers are so great that it’s going to be problematic,” he said. “People seek to leave employment for a myriad reasons — the MPD is no exception.”
Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images