A former NJ Transit police officer who retired on disability after accidentally firing a staple into a finger on his nonshooting hand acknowledges that a video showing him firing a sniper rifle makes the claim look ridiculous, but says the problem lies with the pension system.
"It's an all-or-nothing system, which doesn't make sense," Christopher Onesti, who collects a tax-free pension of nearly $46,000 a year, told WNBC-TV in New York City. "You are either 100 percent capable of being a patrol officer or you aren't."
A doctor wrote on Onesti's disability application that the injury would impede his ability to fire a weapon and perform other police duties, such as restraining suspects.
On the video, posted on his Facebook page, Onesti can be seen firing an Austrian sniper rifle placed on the ground, pulling the trigger, and operating the bolt-action lever with his right hand.
The video was first obtained by the news website New Jersey Watchdog, which joined WNBC-TV on the report. The website, funded by the nonprofit Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, regularly criticizes state pension practices.
Onesti, who lives outside Philadelphia, said he sought other jobs with the NJ Transit police, but couldn't get one and had no choice but to retire.