Nearly 200 Minneapolis police officers have officially filed paperwork to leave the force, citing post-traumatic stress, according to a report from the New York Times on Tuesday.
The report highlighted remarks from Ronald F. Meuser Jr., a lawyer representing the officers. Should the officers officially leave, 20 percent of the force, which includes an estimated 850 people, could be gone.
According to the Times‘ report, 65 officers have already left the force this year, an increase from the usual 45 departures per year.
“It’s almost like a nuclear bomb hit the city, and the people who didn’t perish are standing around,” Officer Rich Walker Sr., a 16-year Minneapolis police veteran, said of the department’s mood. “I’m still surprised that we’ve got cops showing up to work, to be honest.”
The news comes amid several protests that have caused uproar and destruction across the nation after the death of George Floyd, who passed away on Memorial Day after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
According to Minneapolis City Council member Jeremiah Ellison, who supports efforts to defund police forces, police officers who leave the force are not willing to help make a change.
“Policing as an institution has largely been untouchable, despite the many, many, many failings that are cultural,” said Ellison. “Here we are in a moment where people all over the country are saying, ‘No, no, no, no, no, we are interested in real accountability.’”
Ellison claims that officers who leave the force are essentially saying, “You’re picking on us, you don’t know how hard our job is and we’re going home.”