Chicago (NPA) – I recently wrote about what a shame it is that at some agencies’ law enforcement family legacies are vanishing. Then coincidence made us aware of the plight of one legacy Chicago officer, both of whose parents are retired CPD, who was shot in the line of duty about a year ago.
On that day, CPD Anthony Graffeo got a visceral demonstration of how police work can go from standing still to speed of light in a flash. According to WGN 9 TV News, CPD Supt. David Brown said, “The offender had ordered his food and was in line in front of the officer. The offender reached in his pocket to pay for his order, a gun fell out of the offender’s waistband.”
Before the officer could react, the suspect picked up the gun and fired, the bullet grazing the officer’s head. The suspect then fired into the patrol car where Ofc. Graffeo was seated, waiting for his partner. Seven bullets struck Ofc. Graffeo’s left leg.
Nearby officers chased the suspect and apprehended him. The suspect was not injured.
Ofc. Graffeo, who has since received the Medal of Valor, initially spent three days in the hospital. But after going home he suffered an infection, requiring four more days in the hospital. He also recently endured a series of surgeries related to “6 bullet fragments lodged in his leg.” His pain is described as “excruciating,” as bullet fragments that cannot be removed, some of which are affecting his “sciatic nerve.” The injuries continue to prevent “him from functioning normally.”
Ofc. Graffeo hopes the “medical intervention” will eventually make it possible for “him to return as an active-duty police officer.
A Go Fund Me account has been established for Ofc. Graffeo to assist with his financial hardship due to policies that now have the wounded officer going without pay until a determination is made regarding his medical condition.
According to FOX 32 News, besides the cops, ordinary people are also fleeing Chicago, in proverbial droves. Rising crime stats enhanced by “the anti-police positions of political leaders” are adding to the exodus.
Major corporations and other businesses are right behind them. The Daily Caller reportedcorporate giants like Tyson Foods, McDonald’s Corp., Caterpillar, and Boeing are leaving the city for friendlier climes in places like Arkansas, Virginia, Texas, and Florida. Boeing had years ago fled Seattle for Chicago due to a negative state business environment. This time, it’s the crime.
However, believe it or not, that’s not even the truly shocking part of his story. In fact, in Chicago, chaos has become the routine. What’s shocking is how Ofc. Graffeo is being treated after taking seven rounds from an armed criminal for his Chicago community.
“While continuing his lengthy journey to recovery, he has exhausted all allowed medical time and has been placed into a NO PAY STATUS, awaiting his disability hearing. Unfortunately, the disability approval process can take 8-10 months.”
Get shot in the line of duty and go without pay for nearly a year. Who would sign off on such a policy?
Ofc. Graffeo told the NPA, “The one IL senator that is now aware of how injured Chicago police officers are treated by the pension board was in disbelief.”
The senator and his staff reportedly expressed shock at the length of time injured officers can go unpaid. Ofc. Graffeo also said, “Suburban departments here are not like this. They seamlessly go into disability pay once their medical time is exhausted [as it should be]. Any attention this gets will be much appreciated so that injured Chicago officers in the future do not have to go through this same process.”
The full story can be found on a Go Fund Me account set up for Officer Graffeo, explaining his medical condition and financial situation.
“Officer Graffeo is a husband and a father to two beautiful girls, ages 4 and 6. He is grateful every day to be alive and cherishes every moment spent with his wife and daughters. His attention is also focused on the recovery and eventual return to work. He is determined to make that happen and continues to do all that is asked of him by doctors and physical therapists.”
Remember as you read this, this is not an officer whose done anything wrong. This is not even an officer who did things right but is accused of wrongdoing. This is an officer who went to work and was ambushed by a criminal who shot and severely wounded him while he sat in his patrol car.
As a thanks, he remains unpaid but is still responsible for helping put food on his family’s table and keeping a roof over their heads.
This article originally appeared at The National Police Association