Police officers working the Third Precinct the night it was burned thought they would be killed by protesters, and wrote "final notes and texts to loved ones."
That insight is according to a source whose input might need to be taken with a badge-sized grain of salt: a lawyer representing cops who've filed disability claims for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Ron Meuser says the claims stem from experience policing in the chaotic days after the murder of George Floyd, which led to charges against four of their fellow officers. Meuser says 150 cops (out of 850 on the force) have "started the process of filing mental and physical disability claims," and "the majority" of those are for PTSD.
Mueser says "many" of those were at the Third Precinct the night it was abandoned, left for protesters to loot and burn. In a press release, Meuser writes:
"Officers were taking such extreme steps as writing final notes and texts to loved ones - fearful they wouldn’t make it home, and some saying they felt they needed reserve their last bullet rather than being beaten to death."
Officers affected by PTSD have difficulty socializing and higher rates of alcoholism and divorce, says Meuser, whose press release helpfully throws in a call to stop "plotting the dismantling of the force," and instead "come together to improve community trust and work towards a safer city for all."
Meuser tells Fox 9 some 75 of those cops were told by a doctor not to return to work at this time, and that most of the officers filing have 16 or more years of experience. The city says it's only received 17 disability claims, though most of the cops Meuser's describing are filing their claims with the state retirement system, which became easier thanks to recent changes to state law.
Under the law, cops claiming disability could receive "60 percent of their average salary over the next 20 years," per Fox, an amount that can be supplemented with a workers' compensation claim.
City council member Linea Palmisano tells Fox the claims would come "at a significant expense to our city," and that the law should allow more time for treatment, which could help more cops suffering from PTSD return to work.
For the record, there are no reports of officers who were beaten to death at the Third Precinct.