Police outraged after officer's benefits denied - WSMV Channel 4

Police outraged after officer's benefits denied

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Officer Clyde Stambaugh was diagnosed with severe PTSD. (WSMV) Officer Clyde Stambaugh was diagnosed with severe PTSD. (WSMV)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

In 2014, after pointing his pistol at an officer's head in Smyrna and carjacking a woman at gunpoint, police said parolee Aaron Smith Jr. drove to Elliston Place in Nashville. He tried to break into a business, then pointed his gun at officers once again.

Countless people reportedly could have been hurt. Instead, five officers shot and killed Smith. Officer Clyde Stambaugh was one of them.

"He put his life on the line to save theirs," said Nashville Fraternal Order of Police attorney Jack Byrd.

Those heroic actions had devastating consequences. Stambaugh sought help from his pastor and counselors. Eventually his psychiatrist diagnosed him with severe PTSD.

Unable to work, Stambaugh asked Metro's benefit board to grant him an "injured on duty pension." Tuesday, the board voted 4-3 to deny him.

"This employee does not meet the criteria as he was trained to expect to do this in this line of work," said Benefits Board chairman Edna Jones.

"I think it's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard," Byrd said.

Police are now outraged. They said the city they serve is abandoning them in a time of need.

"We're not robots. We're people too, and for her to say we should react in that manner just absolutely disgusted us," said Nashville FOP President James Smallwood.

Channel 4 called Jones and every board member who voted to deny Stambaugh's benefits asking them for an interview, but had not heard back by deadline Monday.

Meanwhile, Stambaugh is reportedly devastated and has no way to pay the bills.

"It's a slap in the face to every officer who puts on a badge and a gun and goes out to protect the citizens of this county. It tells them that this city is not going to support to them," Byrd said.

Metro's Deputy Police Chief Todd Henry serves on the Benefits Board. He was one of the three who voted to approve Stambaugh's benefits.

Henry said less than one percent of their officers ever have to fire their weapon.

Byrd filed an appeal in chancery court Monday morning.  

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