Derek Chauvin: Police officer charged with murdering George Floyd still qualifies for more than $ 1 million pension

Chauvin has been the subject of rage since last month, when footage surfaced of him kneeling on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd begged him to stop. He was quickly fired from the ward where he had worked since 2001, and amid national protests, he was eventually charged with second-degree murder. Three other officers involved in the incident were also fired and faced criminal charges.

But Chauvin still benefits from a pension partially funded by taxpayers. Although a number of state laws allow the deprivation of pensions of those employees convicted of crimes related to their work, this is not the case in Minnesota.

The Minnesota Public Service Pensioners Association confirmed to CNN that the 44-year-old Chauvin will still be eligible to apply for a pension as early as age 50, though he will not give details on the specific amount he will receive. Chauvin’s lawyer declined to comment. Pension plan officials said employees who voluntarily resign or are therefore eligible may be considered future benefits unless they lose future benefits and receive a refund of all their contributions during employment.

“Neither our Board nor our staff have the discretion to increase, decrease, deny or eliminate benefits,” the spokeswoman said. “Any changes to the existing law should be implemented through the legislative process.”

Although a number of factors are used to calculate retirement benefits, Chauvin would likely be eligible for annual payments of $ 50,000 a year or more if he chooses to start receiving them at age 55, a CNN analysis based on Chauvin’s mandate has shown. on salaries for 2019, contract details, pension plan instructions and salary schedule in Minneapolis. The benefits could extend to $ 1.5 million or more over a 30-year period, not counting the increase in the cost of living. Chauvin’s annual payments may be higher if he has received significant overtime hours in previous years.

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Two of the other officers accused of Floyd’s death were recruits, but a third also appear to qualify for retirement from their department, according to employment data released by the city. The Minneapolis mayor’s office, police department and local police union did not respond to CNN’s requests for comment.

Public pensions are paid by a combination of contributions from local authorities financed by taxpayers and the workers themselves, as well as a return on investment. Public safety pensions are usually some of the most plentiful and have caused local and state budgets to bubble across the country.

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But it is almost impossible to reduce or fire them to workers promised to them by public employment contracts, and police unions have fought fiercely to protect workers ’pensions. Police officers also usually pay some of their own salaries into the funds and usually receive their pensions instead of social security.

Amid growing calls across the country to suspend police administrations and better allocate money to social services, such as youth and community development and mental health, pensions are likely to prove a moment in the ongoing debate.

Laws governing whether a pension can be revoked from police accused of misconduct vary by state. Less than half of the states have laws that allow for the confiscation of pensions for police convicted of any crime, while some other states allow for the confiscation of pensions for specific crimes such as corruption or sexual crimes against minors, but not for persuading officers to use excessive force. according to a 2017 study published in the Journal of Law, Economics and Policy.

But even these laws would not touch the numerous police officers accused of police brutality who have never been convicted or even charged with a crime. Many have also been enacted in the past decade and do not usually apply to officials hired before the law was passed, the researchers noted.

“Withdrawal of a pension for misconduct is quite rare,” said D. Bruce Johnsen, a law professor at George Mason University and one of the study’s authors.

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“With this terrible tragedy, it might be a good time to push in that direction,” he added, saying that special situations that would allow for confiscation would need to be carefully defined.

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