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Minneapolis paid more than $3.3 million in police overtime in wake of George Floyd's death

By Liz Sawyer and Maryjo Webster, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in News & Features

MINNEAPOLIS - To patrol a smoldering city in the two weeks after George Floyd's death, Minneapolis shelled out more than $3.3 million in police overtime costs - roughly 37 times more than normal, pushing the department past its annual budget.

The state's largest police force tapped 822 of its 855 sworn officers to pull extended shifts during that pay period since May 25, where the department averaged more than 3,600 overtime hours per day, according to a Minneapolis Star Tribune analysis of payroll data.

"It was all hands on deck," police spokesman John Elder said of the riots that engulfed south Minneapolis in May. "We had people working 18 and 20 hours a day."

A bystander video of Floyd's death under the knee of a Minneapolis police officer sparked days of civil unrest, looting and arson on Lake Street, culminating on the third night with the destruction of the Third Precinct.

Amid the chaos, police struggled to find the manpower required to restore order in a city consumed by rage and grief. Department brass relied heavily on overtime to maintain adequate staffing levels as 911 calls surged.

Chief Medaria Arradondo worked round-the-clock monitoring the situation while his officers worked the streets throughout the night, Elder said, noting that Arradondo kept Mayor Jacob Frey apprised at every step of the way. "What were our options?" Elder asked, recounting the decision-making process. "From what I saw, it was necessary."

 

At least three police sergeants logged 130 hours of overtime on their June 6 time sheet - equivalent to around $10,000 in extra income, according to payroll data obtained through a public records request. The data provided to the Star Tribune lists the number and type of hours logged by all sworn officers in every pay period between April and June. It does not specify how many they worked each day or include overtime by civilian staff.

Those veterans were among nearly 200 Minneapolis officers who clocked at least 80 additional hours during the immediate aftermath of Floyd's death, which averages out to at least 10 hours per day for 14 days.

Nearly one-quarter of the rank-and-file officers have since contacted an attorney seeking disability benefits related to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Costs directly associated with the unrest exceeded MPD's overtime budget by about $3.5 million, said Robin McPherson, the agency's finance director.

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