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Floyd’s Family Might End Up Helping Pay Chauvin’s Retirement Benefits

Derek Chauvin could still receive about $50,000 a year in pension partly funded by taxpayers like George Floyd’s surviving family, even if he’s convicted of second-degree murder.

Moreover, qualified immunity would most likely prevent Floyd’s family from successfully suing him.

Chauvin was the police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, who pressed his knee into the neck of Floyd for nearly nine minutes while Floyd lay under him suffocating on May 25, 2020. Floyd ended up dying, and Chauvin and three other officers fired. Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter.

Minnesota law does not have a provision allowing the revocation of a public employee’s pension if the employee commits a felony during the discharge of the employee’s duty as most other states do. So, based on Chauvin’s final rate of pay and his years in service, CNN figured he should receive about $50,000 per year without calculating any cost of living increases. He could, if he chooses, draw a fully vested pension at age 55; he is 44.

By the time he reaches 78, the average male life expectancy in the United States, he will have received $1.1 million, even if he is sitting behind bars.

Minnesota’s pension fund is created from three sources: employee’s contribution of approximately 11.8% of their own pay, pension investment earnings, and employers (17.7% of which is paid by the Police Department employing Chauvin and any shortfall is picked up by the taxpaying public).This pension fund is then used to make retirement payments to employees.

Retirement packages are built to allow a person to collect a pension even if that person finds another job. Minnesota also allows police to also avoid paying into Social Security, saving them more money while employed. They receive all of the retirement benefits from the Minnesota Public Employees Retirement Association and not any federal retirement program. Most states have drafted laws that revoke those benefits for any breach of public trust, e.g., any criminal conviction committed while performing duties as a public servant. But Minnesota does not have any such laws.

Libertarian magazine Reason stated that insult in this case was added to injury in that qualified immunity would most likely prevent Chauvin from being sued for his actions. So, while Floyd’s family might not receive any money for his death, they might be paying in part for Chauvin’s retirement while he is incarcerated.

Chris Stewart, attorney for Floyd’s daughter Gianna Floyd and Gianna’s mother Roxie Washington, favors police pension law changes. “Pensions are one of the leading reasons officers are not concerned about being terminated. It’s one of the root causes in some of the most horrific cases we see,” Stewart said in a statement quoted in The New York Times. “The laws must change regarding pensions. If an officer is fired or arrested, they must either lose their pension entirely or have it reduced substantially.” 



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