Even if former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is convicted in the murder of George Floyd, he could still be eligible to receive over $1 million in pension benefits in retirement. The Minnesota Public Employees Retirement Association told CNN the 44-year-old Chauvin could be eligible to file for his pension as soon as age 50. However, it did not say how much Chauvin could receive. Chauvin was first charged with manslaughter and third-degree murder, but the charge was upgraded to second-degree murder later.
Minnesota does not have a state law forcing employees convicted of a felony to forfeit their pensions. Retirement plan officials told CNN employees fired for cause or those leaving voluntarily are still eligible for benefits unless they forfeit them in exchange for a refund to contributions made while employed. "Neither our Board nor our staff have the discretion to increase, decrease, deny or revoke benefits," a spokeswoman told the outlet, adding that changes to the law could only be made by legislators.
Chauvin could receive annual pension payments of around $50,000 if he decides to begin receiving them at age 55, according to CNN's analysis, based on Chauvin's records and Minneapolis Police Department salary data. The benefits could total $1.5 million or more over the next 30 years, and that does not include any added cost of living changes. The payments could be even more if Chauvin put in significant overtime during his tenure.
Public pensions, like the one Chauvin, would be eligible for, are funded through local governments and workers' contributions, as well as investments. Police unions have fought hard to protect worker pensions, which have often caused police budgets around the country to skyrocket. The laws on stripping police pensions based on misconduct are different from state to state, and less than half of states allow pensions to be taken away if a police officer is convicted of a felony. Some states allow pensions to be taken away only for specific crimes, including corruption and sexual crimes.
Chauvin was seen on camera keeping his knee on Floyd's neck for more than eight minutes on May 25, even after Floyd lost consciousness. Chauvin was fired and charged with second-degree manslaughter, third-degree murder and second-degree murder. Former officers J. Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao were also at the scene and were fired. They were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder. On Monday, Chauvin's bail was set at $1.25 million.