A former New York City police officer who raged online about government handouts is reportedly double dipping on the taxpayer's dime, collecting a disability pension from New York while working as a sheriff's deputy in Florida.
Christopher DePaolis claimed he "messed up [his] knee really bad" in 2013 while he was chasing a suspect, and was awarded an $82,069 annual pension from the state of New York before retiring to Florida, according to the New York Daily News. The pension also includes free health care for life.
But the injury didn't prevent him from scoring a new law enforcement job with the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, reports New York Daily News, where he earns $52,156 a year.
DePaolis, who has taken to his Facebook page to rail against handout culture, even runs on his bum knee, the Daily News reported: The 43-year-old cop ran a Father’s Day 5K run in 2014, and uploaded photos of himself in other races, including a Miami Beach Halloween half-marathon in 2014 and a 5K race and scavenger hunt at Disney World in 2015.
The former NYPD officer freely admitted he was squeezing the system and trying to get as much taxpayer money as he could, according to Facebook posts obtained by the Daily News. In his posts, he justified the behavior by saying President Barack Obama's election was proof that everyone else is looking for handouts.
“Now I’ll take whatever I can get for this state and not feel one bit bad," DePaolis wrote on Facebook Nov. 7, 2012, the day after Obama was reelected. "If everyone else is going to get free s--- and not have to work...I plan to do the same now. They made it clear to me so now am joining them."
The Daily News report said the photos and screen captures of DePaolis' Facebook page were provided by an anonymous tipster who was disgusted with the former NYPD officer's behavior.
“It’s a slap in the face to all law enforcement that wore the uniform ... claiming you had injuries that prevent you from doing law enforcement work," the tipster told the newspaper. "And then you go to another state, join law enforcement and run marathons. All while the New York citizens are paying your pension."
But double-dipping in such a way isn't illegal, Tim Hoefer, executive director of the Albany-based Empire Center, told the Daily News. His organization has been locked in a legal battle with New York over pension funds for six years.
“It’s infuriating on moral grounds," Hoefer said. "The system allows it. That’s why it’s so outrageous. They’re not going to take that [pension] away from him."
DePaolis didn't feel the need to explain himself when a Daily News reporter called him.
“What’s it to you?” DePaolis asked the reporter before hanging up. “I have no comment.”