Eight correctional officers of color will be getting a huge payout after suing Minneapolis for barring them from guarding Derek Chauvin in 2020. The Ramsey County Board of Commissioners approved a $1.455 million settlement on Tuesday (August 9), according to CNN.
In a lawsuit filed last year, the Ramsey County Adult Detention Center was accused of prohibiting the officers from “interacting with or guarding Chauvin” and “going anywhere” near the floor where the former Minneapolis officer was being held, per an order from the center’s superintendent Steve Lydon.
Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years last June for kneeling on George Floyd’s neck and killing him in April 2020. He was also sentenced to nearly 20.5 years for on federal civil rights charges, with credit for time served. Floyd’s death sparked months of huge protests across the country and the world.
As a result of the order, the correctional officers were allegedly re-assigned to other locations in the jail. The employees ended up suing for alleged violations the Minnesota Humans Rights Act.
“On behalf of the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners and this entire organization, I extend our profound apologies today to Devin Sullivan, Mohamud Salad, Timothy Ivory, Anabel Herrera, Stanley Hafoka, Nathaniel Gomez-Haustein, Cedric Dodds and Chelsea Cox,” Ramsey County Board Chair Trista MatasCastillo said during Tuesday’s meeting, per CNN.
She continues: “The actions taken by Sheriff’s Office leadership that day were more than just wrong — they were racist, heinous, highly disrespectful and completely out of line with Ramsey County’s vision and values. No one ever should have questioned your ability to perform your job based on the color of your skin.”
The settlement agreement also required the county to issue an apology acknowledging Lydon’s order as “discriminatory and wrong.”
After the initial allegations were made in 2020, Lydon says he made the order “out of comfort and concern” for the correctional officers of color. He reportedly reversed the mandate shortly after issuing it.
“Recognizing that the murder of George Floyd was likely to create particularly acute racialized trauma, I felt I had an immediate duty to protect and support employees who may have been traumatized and may have heightened ongoing trauma by having to deal with Chauvin,” Lydon said at the time.