Officer charged with murder of Floyd still eligible for $1 million pension

WION Web Team
Minneapolis, United States Published: Jun 13, 2020, 07:28 AM(IST)

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin poses for an undated booking photograph taken after he was transferred from a county jail to a Minnesota Department of Corrections state facility Photograph:( Reuters )

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Amid growing calls across the country to defund police departments and better distribute the money to social services, such as youth and community development and mental health treatment, pensions will likely prove to be a flashpoint in the ongoing debate.

The murder of George Floyd in the United States has triggered protests not only in the country, but across the world. Protesters are demanding justice for Floyd while calling for an end to systemic racism which targets black people across the globe.

Derek Chauvin, the 44-year-old police officer who knelt on Floyd was charged with second and third-degree murder,could receive more than $1 million in pension benefits during his retirement years even if he is convicted.

Chauvin still stands to benefit from a pension partially funded by taxpayers. While a number of state laws allow for the forfeiture of pensions for those employees convicted of felony crimes related to their work, this is not the case in Minnesota.

Also read: Bail raised to $1.25 million for officer charged with murdering George Floyd

The Minnesota Public Employees Retirement Association confirmed that Chauvin would remain eligible to file for his pension as early as age 50, though it would not provide details on the specific amount he would receive. Chauvin's attorney declined to comment.

Retirement plan officials said that employees terminated voluntarily or for cause are eligible for future benefits unless they choose to forfeit their future benefit and receive a refund of all their contributions made during their employment.

"Neither our Board nor our staff have the discretion to increase, decrease, deny or revoke benefits," a spokeswoman said. "Any changes to current law would need to be done through the legislative process."

While a number of factors are used to calculate pension benefits, Chauvin would likely be eligible for annual payments in the ballpark of $50,000 a year or more if he chose to start receiving them at age 55 based on Chauvin's tenure, 2019 payroll data, contract details, pension plan guidance and Minneapolis Police Department salary schedules.

The benefits could stretch to $1.5 million or more over a 30-year period, not including any cost of living increases. Chauvin's annual payments could be even higher if he received significant amounts of overtime in prior years.

Two of the other officers charged in the death of Floyd were rookies, but a third also appears eligible to receive pension benefits from his time with the department, according to employment records released by the city.

Amid growing calls across the country to defund police departments and better distribute the money to social services, such as youth and community development and mental health treatment, pensions will likely prove to be a flashpoint in the ongoing debate.

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