Friday, December 13, 2013

Ex-NJ Transit cop on disability pension is shown firing gun in video, says he followed the law

TRENTONChristopher Onesti admits his story is ridiculous.
The former New Jersey Transit police officer retired on disability five years ago at the age of 29 after accidentally firing a staple into the ring finger of his non-shooting hand during a mishap at a gun range in 2006. Part of the reason, Onesti said, was that doctors declared he would have trouble properly operating a firearm with his weak hand. Now he collects $45,936.24 a year tax-free from an accidental-disability pension for life.
But Onesti, now 34, hasn’t given up shooting. He said he visits ranges a few times a year — and understands why New Jersey taxpayers footing the bill for his pension would be annoyed by that.
"It absolutely looks absurd," Onesti, who now lives outside Philadelphia, said yesterday. "But it’s because the system is absurd."
Onesti’s shooting hobby came to light this week when NBC-4 in New York and the website New Jersey Watchdog ran reports about a video Onesti posted on his Facebook page showing him firing a sniper rifle at a gun range.
The former officer said the clip does not prove his disability claim was fraudulent. He noted that the video shows him firing only with his right hand — not the one that was injured. But, Onesti said, his case highlights how "broken" New Jersey’s pension system is.
"I can honestly tell you: I followed the law," he said.
Cop.pngA screenshot of the video clip showing former NJ Transit police officer Christopher Onest at a shooting range.

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