Veteran police officer Detective Sgt. Scott Biumi, 48, of the DeKalb County Police Department was caught on video pulling a gun on Ryan Mash, 18, who was at the front a McDonald’s drive-thru line, because he felt the young man was responsible for “holding up” the line. He was indited on two counts of aggravated assault back in July of last year. Biumi was finally just sentenced, all he’s getting is 10 years probation and 120 hours community service — no jail time.
Here’s a thought experiment to question if we have a two-tiered justice system: What do you think the punishment would have been if it was a citizen who pulled a gun on a cop because he thought he was holding up a McDonald’s drive-thru line?
See the original story with video of the assault here:
Mark Lagerkvist, NJ WATCHDOG
Last updated: Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 6:12 PM
One staple may cost New Jersey taxpayers more than $2 million.
Christopher Onesti, who now lives in Drexel Hill, Pa., collects a police disability pension for life because 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.
Yet as a retiree, Onesti now visits firing ranges to shoot a high-powered rifle for fun between trips to the bank to cash nearly $46,000 a year in tax-free pension checks.
New Jersey Watchdog obtained a recent video of Onesti — who retired at age 29 — showing off with a SSG 69 favored by Austrian Army snipers. After shooting five rounds, he turned to the camera to flash a big smile.
“Austrians really know how to make awesome firearms,” Onesti bragged in his Facebook post.
It can also be said New Jersey really knows how to give awesome disability benefits to police retirees, especially those with relatively minor injuries.
Nearly 5,500 retired officers pocket more than $200 million a year in disability pay from the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System. Such generosity adds to the woes of state pension funds that face a $47 billion shortfall.
“There are huge loopholes that are costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars,” said John Sierchio, a PFRS trustee and reform advocate. “Why the legislature doesn’t do anything about it, God only knows.”
To a certain extent, Onesti agrees with critics.
“It absolutely looks ridiculous,” the Delaware County, Pa., resident admitted to Chris Glorioso of News 4 New York, which partnered with New Jersey Watchdog for this investigative report. “On the face of it, it looks absolutely absurd.”
What Onesti calls a “comedy of errors” began at an Ocean County firing range in 2006.
Onesti was taking a required firearms test at the range when wind blew his target down. The New Jersey Transit police officer tried to reattach it with a staple gun.
Instead, Onesti mishandled the tool, piercing the base of his left ring finger with a staple. The wound was the size of a pinprick, according to his testimony. After applying a Band Aid, he successfully completed the qualifying test.
It is perhaps the most expensive staple in New Jersey history.
The next day, Onesti reported the injury to his superiors, who referred him for medical care. One questionable diagnosis, two surgeries and 18 months later, doctors opined he could no longer work as a transit cop.
Claiming New Jersey Transit did not offer him another job, Onesti said he was given no choice but to retire at age 29.
“Could I be a productive member of a police department?” asked Onesti. “Absolutely.”
Citing negligence in his use of the staple gun, the PFRS board approved Onesti for an “ordinary disability” pension that would pay him $27,228 a year, 40 percent of his former salary.
Instead, Onesti wanted an “accidental disability” retirement for a line-of-duty injury – a more lucrative benefit that now pays him $45,684 a year, or two-thirds of salary. 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.
“My lawyer said I was entitled to it,” said Onesti.
“There’s no way you’re totally and permanently disabled from a staple in the finger,” countered Sierchio.
On appeal, a Superior Court judge agreed with Onesti last year, saying the negligence was not willful because the state could not prove he stapled his hand on purpose.
Onesti will rake in $2.3 million from his disability pension if he lives to age 80, his statistical life expectancy.
Asked whether he deserves it, Onesti was evasive.
“It’s not a question of deserve, it’s a question of what the law says,” he said.
Asked whether the law should be changed, Onesti offered little more.
“That’s a good question,” he replied. “I’m not sure.”
Sierchio, a Bloomfield police detective, says he’ll ask the pension board to take another look at the Onesti case.
“How do you get totally and permanently disabled from a staple in the finger?” Sierchio argued. “In that case, every kindergartner who staples his finger should be going out on disability.”
What concerns Sierchio even more is the bigger picture.
“Onesti is just one of thousands who are doing it. He just happened to get caught because of social media. I believe that if they don’t close these loopholes, it’s going to cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.”
The New Jersey Watchdog is a public interest journalism project dedicated to promoting open, transparent, and accountable state government by reporting on the activities of agencies, bureaucracies, and politicians in New Jersey. It is funded by the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, a libertarian nonprofit organization.
Police officer fired for demanding free coffee, tea at Starbucks
How do you like your coffee?
According to an internal investigation, a Daytona Beach, Fla., police lieutenant liked his free and demanded that a Starbucks give him free coffee and tea or he’d provide slower emergency response times. He’d come by up to six times a night while on duty to demand free drinks, according to employees.
The officer failed a polygraph that he asked for, according to reports,and has been fired. And, employees said, he’d even cut in front of paying customers. How rude!
- Starbucks to open ‘tea bar’ in New York City (news.yahoo.com)
Officer Friendly (Comic)
POLICE discovered a cannabis farm after being tipped off by an anonymous note left on the windscreen of a patrol car, Lincoln Crown Court has been told.
Officers acting on the information subsequently visited a property in the hamlet of Bloxholm just off the A15 near Ruskington and immediately smelled cannabis.
Julia King, prosecuting, said that Raymond James, who was living at the property at the time, claimed the smell was from a cannabis spliff he had just thrown on the fire. But the strong aroma led officers to query his response and James then took them into the cellar where they found cannabis plants being grown. Miss King said 75 cannabis plants were found in electrically heated trays with special lighting installed.
A search of the property and outbuildings led to the discovery of more sophisticated cannabis growing equipment as well as nearly £3,000 cash.
James, 41, formerly of Bloxholm but now living at Margam, West Glamorgan, South Wales, admitted producing cannabis on January 10 this year. He was jailed for 18 months.
Judge Michael Heath told him “In my judgement the only justifiable sentence I can impose is one of immediate custody.”
Jonathon Dee, defending, said James was homeless when he was offered accommodation at the farm. He said that at the time James was in debt to a loan shark and agreed to grow the cannabis to clear his loan.
Mr Dee said: “He is a nervous and anxious individual who has lived a fairly wretched life with spells of homelessness and spells of alcoholism. He had been out of trouble for nearly 20 years but he was in a fairly desperate situation.
“He owed money and was told he could repay it by doing this.”