Officer Charged With Killing George Floyd Still Eligible for $1 Million Pension
Officer Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering George Floyd, may still be eligible for more than $1 million in pension benefits regardless of whether he’s convicted or not.
Charges against Chauvin, 44, were escalated to second-degree murder and manslaughter amid worldwide outcry over the United States’ systemic police brutality and racial injustice. He was immediately fired from the police department, alongside Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J. Alexander Kueng – all of whom are charged with aiding and abetting in the felony.
States often allow for forfeiture of pensions in cases of criminal conviction. However, even despite Chauvin’s stark charges, thanks to Minnesota state law he could still reap the benefits of a pension partially funded by taxpayers.
If Chauvin is found guilty of murdering Floyd, he would still be eligible for future benefits from as early as the age of 50, according to the Minnesota Public Employees Retirement Association (MPERA).
A spokesperson from the MPERA told CNN:
Neither our Board nor our staff have the discretion to increase, decrease, deny or revoke benefits. Any changes to current law would need to be done through the legislative process.
While the exact amount he’d receive hasn’t been disclosed, the only way he’d be forfeited from the pension is if he requested a refund of all his contributions. At the time of writing, Chauvin’s attorney hasn’t commented.
It’s estimated that Chauvin could see $50,000 per year from the point of retirement at 50, with a higher annual payment if he claimed his pension later. Barring further disasters, over the course of a 30-year period he could be looking at $1.5 million, with wiggle room for more if he’s completed a high amount of overtime in his tenure.
While neither the city’s mayor’s office, police department nor union have commented, it appears Thao would also be eligible for his pension (Lane and Kueng were both relatively new to the force at the time of Floyd’s death).
It comes after a veto-proof majority of Minneapolis City Council members officially announced their commitment to disband the current police department and ‘create a new transformative model of public safety’.
Legislation regarding the forfeiture of pensions is a state issue, varying all across the country. In some locations, sexual assault against minors and corruption result in an officer’s pension being stripped, although few allow it as a result of excessive force, as per 2017 research published in the Journal of Law, Economics and Policy.
D. Bruce Johnsen, a law professor at George Mason University and one of the study’s authors, said: ‘Pension forfeiture for misconduct is pretty rare. With this terrible tragedy it might be a good time to push in this direction.’
Lane was recently released from Hennepin County Jail, with conditions, after posting $750,000 bail. His attorney Earl Gray says he plans to bring a motion to dismiss all charges at his next court appearance on June 29.
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