3 former MPD officer workers' comp settlements approved by Minneapolis City Council

The Minneapolis City Council has approved workers' compensation settlements for three former Minneapolis Police Department (MPD) officers claiming they faced PTSD while working during the unrest following George Floyd’s death.

The City Council has been torn over deciding how to handle the settlements for Logan Johansson, Andrew Braun, and Peter Brazeau.

Johansson and his legal representation were seeking $111,250; Braun and his legal representation were seeking $130,000; Brazeau and his legal representation were seeking $125,000 as part of their settlements.

However, each officer has garnered negative attention before taking their PTSD claims before the city.

Johansson was found to have destroyed files at the MPD Third Precinct on the night it burned, further causing legal troubles for the city in prosecuting case files. Braun allegedly shot a journalist with a rubber bullet during the unrest after Floyd’s death, resulting in her losing an eye. She settled her claims with the city for $600,000. Brazeau was fired for punching a handcuffed man but was later reinstated.

Ultimately, the council followed its own legal representation and found their collective histories did not change the legal status of their PTSD settlements. In order to be approved for a settlement, an employee must prove an injury, and that they sustained the injuries on the job.

"Past misconduct is not relevant to either the evaluation or the course, the legal course of a workers' compensation claim," Deputy City Attorney Erik Nilsson previously informed council members.

Throughout the settlement process, past behavior should not be taken into account, according to the city attorney.

"This essentially creates a wide-open door… And is costing taxpayers a lot of money," Council member Jeremiah Ellison said on Thursday prior to the vote. "I don’t see any other solutions than to vote against [these claims]."

Council members Aisha Chugtai, Jason Chavez, Ellison and Robin Wonsley voted against the settlements.

"We really need to figure out a different path forward, because this is not sustainable," Council member Elliott Payne said on Thursday before the vote.

Since George Floyd’s death three years ago, a FOX 9 Investigators analysis showed more than 150 Minneapolis police officers have taken workers' compensation settlements for post-traumatic stress.

"I’ve voted to support these challenging and distasteful settlements because it is the recommendation of our staff that gives us assurance we are fulfilling our fiduciary responsibility in limiting the amount of liability the city is responsible for," said Council President Andrea Jenkins.

Past MPD settlements

Beginning in May 2020, at least 155 officers have received workers’ compensation settlements, many of which have had questionable histories of misconduct. Of the 155 MPD officers analyzed, at least 95% of them had some form of misconduct claim filed against them. About 12% of those officers were disciplined by MPD brass.

But in October, the Minneapolis City Council voted to reject the workers’ compensation claim made by Minneapolis police officer Andrew Bittel in a 4-1 vote — signaling it could begin scrutinizing the claims further. Sgt. Bittell was one of the officers present during the beating and arrest of Jaleel Stallings during the unrest following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. Stallings eventually reached a $1.5 million settlement with the City of Minneapolis.

Minneapolis officials told FOX 9 in October that since June 1, 2020, MPD employees had filed 864 workers' compensation claims for work-related injuries and illnesses. The figure included multiple claims by some employees who sustained more than one work-related injury or illness.

To date, the city has paid $33,825,505.90 in claims, which includes wage replacement, medical payments, settlements, and other claim-associated expenses.