I read a story last week about an Ohio police officer – make that a former Ohio police officer, who plead guilty to fabricating a story about being shot in the line of duty. The charges he plead to were one count of inducing panic, one count of making false alarms, two counts of tampering with evidence, one count of forgery and one count of workers' compensation fraud. It seems our officer had filed false reports claiming that he had been shot during a traffic stop. It turns out he had shot himself, in what he later claimed was a “failed suicide attempt.”
Of course, the kicker to the story is that he shot himself in the arm.
Either this guy scored dead last on the firing range, or he completely skipped school on the day they covered basic human anatomy.
People attempting to commit suicide by gun generally don't shoot themselves in the arm. It is a most ineffective way to accomplish that goal, and makes follow up even more difficult. After all, these are usually not “best out of three” scenarios.
Most galling to me in this story is that “suspects” were identified and pursued based on this yoho's lies. He told authorities he had been shot by people in a black Geo Tracker. I can't believe they found anyone that could match that description. They stopped making Geo's in 1997, and I think only 2 of those little rattle traps were ever sold. That, of course, is why they stopped making them in 1997. Yet police managed to identify some poor sap that suddenly found himself the subject of a massive police hunt over the attempted murder of a cop. And to make matters worse, when he was finally cleared of the investigation, he had to drive home in a black Geo Tracker.
That is wrong on so many levels. As if he hadn't suffered enough.
The other disturbing part of this story, as if it needs another disturbing part, is that the portion of his crimes related to workers' compensation seem to be simply misdemeanors. His guilty plea confirms that he forged workers' compensation documents to apply for benefits after his injury, yet according to a statement issued by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, the one count of workers' compensation fraud with which he was charged is a misdemeanor of the first degree.
It is a shame that we do not take workers' comp fraud more seriously than that. It could explain why we continue to see it occur with frustrating regularity.
Not to worry, our intrepid former officer, according to DeWine's release, is “facing the possibility of prison time, and his peace officer certification will be revoked.” To clarify, this guy shot himself while on duty, and claimed he was shot by someone else, triggering a response involving local, state, and federal authorities. An Ohio Blue Alert was issued in response to his initial reports. He was found to have tampered with evidence directly related to the case, and the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation found he forged workers' compensation documents to fraudulently apply for benefits related to his injury.
And he “may” face prison time. At least they revoked his peace officer certificate. I would hate to find him on patrol once more.
With his shooting skills, there is no telling who or what may get shot.
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Robert Wilson is President & CEO of WorkersCompensation.com, and "From Bob's Cluttered Desk" comes his (often incoherent) thoughts, ramblings, observations and rants - often on workers' comp or employment issues, but occasionally not.
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