NEW HAVEN, Conn. — The city of Stamford agreed to pay the medical bills of a police officer who was denied workers compensation after he shot and killed a chimpanzee, records show.
The officer, Frank Chiafari, shot the chimpanzee after it mauled and blinded a woman and then tried to get into his patrol car, police said. The officer was denied a claim for workers' compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder, because state law only applies to police shootings of people, officials said.
Records obtained by The Associated Press on Friday indicate that, despite that rejection, the city did agree to pay the officer's medical bills.
"The city did in fact pay his medical bills for counseling," said Bob Lupinacci, spokesman for Mayor Michael Pavia.
Joseph Kennedy, president of the Stamford Police Association, said getting the city to pay the officer's medical bills was not a smooth process. He said the decision to pay the bills came at the urging of the police chief and that Chiafari was required to change doctors.
Kennedy said there is still a need to change the law so that workers' compensation would cover such claims.
State Sen. Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford, introduced legislation Tuesday designed to help the officer get workers' compensation coverage. His bill would change the law to allow claims for mental or emotional impairment when officers are required to use deadly force on animals that attempt to injure them.
The officer, who is back on duty, has suffered anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares and mood swings, Kennedy said.
The 200-pound chimpanzee went berserk after its owner asked her friend, Charla Nash, to help lure it back into her house. The animal ripped off Nash's hands, nose, lips and eyelids.
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Nash has been hospitalized at the Cleveland Clinic for the entire year since the attack.