Stafford Shooting Range at Center of Ex-Cop's Pension Controversy

Christopher Onesti firing weapon despite state ruling he can no longer handle a gun

Video of Christopher Onesti firing weapon. Originally posted on Christopher Onesti's Facebook page
Video of Christopher Onesti firing weapon. Originally posted on Christopher Onesti's Facebook page
It all started at a firing range in Stafford Township.

Christopher Onesti, while taking a required firearms test as a NJ Transit police officer, accidentally stapled his finger while trying to make a target repair at the firing range in Stafford back in 2006, according to reports on NJ Watchdog and nj.com.

After medical treatment, Onesti, then 29, was awarded a pension benefit that now pays him $45,684 a year, or two-thirds of salary, Watchdog reports. Because it’s tax-free, that equals a $65,780 pre-tax salary, more than twice what he would have received for ordinary disability and almost as much as his working pay, according to the report.

Onesti, now 34, collects a police disability pension for life because after he stapled the ring finger of his non-shooting hand, state authorities ruled he is “totally and permanently disabled,” no longer able to handle a gun or perform duties as a New Jersey Transit cop.

Now Onesti is in the news again because Watchdog and News4NY have posted a video showing him at a range firing a weapon. Onesti had apparently posted the video on his Facebook page, based on what is posted on Watchdog, but the short piece of footage is no longer posted. 

Onesti lived in Marlton at the time of the incident and was working mostly out of Camden and Atlantic City, according to Mark Lagerkvist at Watchdog. Onesti has since moved to Pennsylvania, according to nj.com.

Onesti has told reporters he acknowledges his situation looks "absurd," but says his pension award is within the law. Critics say Onesti is right about that, but that his case shows pension reform is sorely needed.

To read full article on Watchdog, click here. Do you think Onesti should be able to collect this pension? Is this an example of problems within the pension system? Tell us what you think in the Comments section. 

Chief Wahoo December 12, 2013 at 02:24 PM
Don't blame the player. Blame the game. A game all the sheep allow to happen by handing over their hard earned and dwindling money for property taxes, so the public takers can live off your sweat by writing the laws THST they benefit from.....this public taker even admits it. You all can stop the abuse......you just have to stop being afraid and finally cut the chains


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