Remember the story from about a year ago in which a chimp tore off the face and hands of a woman? The police officer who shot and killed the raging animal was denied workers’ comp benefits.
Under Connecticut’s workers’ comp law, a police officer can receive benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after facing serious injury or deadly force from another person.
But Stamford Police Officer Frank Chiafari, who suffers from PTSD after the incident, can’t get comp because he was forced to shoot and kill an animal, not a person.
Chiafari responded to the scene where the chimp, Travis, had attacked Charla Nash, ripping her face and hands to pieces.
The officer had opened his squad car door to try to help Nash. The chimp jumped into the car.
In testimony before a state legislative committee, Chiafari described the chimp as “a monster with fangs and blood all over it.” After it jumped in his car, Chiafari said, “He was saying, ‘You’re next.'”
The officer shot and killed the chimp. The City of Stamford denied his workers’ comp claim five days after he filed it.
The city later came to an agreement with the police association to cover Chiafari’s $6,400 out-of-pocket medical expenses.
Chiafari was testifying before the state Labor and Public Employees Committee in support of a bill that would amend workers’ comp law to make officers eligible for benefits related to police shootings of an animal threatening serious injury or death.
The bill has been drafted so that it wouldn’t include instances involving rabid raccoons or when an officer has to shoot a deer that’s been seriously injured in a car crash.
The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities opposes the bill, saying it could create an enormous liability for cities and towns. A statement from the Conference says the present law is reasonable and shouldn’t be changed because of one high-profile case.
Should the law be changed? Let us know what you think in the Comments Box below.
(This isn’t the first workers’ comp case spawned by the chimp attack. See our earlier article here.)