Society

Former NJ Transit Cop On Disability For Stapled Hand Still Shoots Gun At Range

| by Khier Casino

A former New Jersey Transit officer collecting disability after stapling a finger on his non-shooting hand is being investigated after a video that surfaced shows him shooting a sniper rifle many times at a gun range.

A video obtained by New Jersey Watchdog shows Christopher Onesti, who resides in suburban Philadelphia, firing a sniper rifle, pulling the trigger with his right hand while gripping the stock with his shoulder and left arm.

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WNBC-4 reported that Onesti has been collecting a nearly $46,000-a-year tax-free benefit after one doctor, who signed his disability application, said he could no longer work as a patrol officer because of the injury.

According to NJ Watchdog editor Mark Lagerkvist, Onesti’s disability pension is estimated to be more than $2 million if he lives until 80.

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The injury occurred in 2006 when Onesti was taking a mandatory firearms test at the range when wind knocked over a target. He tried to re-attach it with a staple gun, which he mishandled.

Onesti, who was 27 at the time, received a wound the “size of a pinprick,” according to the New Jersey Watchdog report. He still managed to pass the qualifying test the same day when he put a Band-Aid on his ring finger.

"There's no way you're totally and permanently disabled from a staple in the finger," a Police and Firemen's Retirement System trustee and reform advocate, John Sierchio, told New Jersey Watchdog.

Christopher Onesti says the problem exists in an all-or-nothing pension system.

The video “looks ridiculous,” Onesti tells WNBC-TV in New York. But he says the injury to his left hand ruled him permanently disabled and the law entitled him to a full pension.