Memphis officer losing all because of injury - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Memphis officer losing all because of injury

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Boxes are stacked up all over Memphis police Officer Daniel Brown's home. His family will be kicked out of the house when the foreclosure is final in November.

Brown, a husband and father of two, is losing everything because he's been off the job without pay for months because of an injury.

"We do expect our employer to have our back when we get hurt, when you get hurt take care of your employees," Officer Brown said. "Same thing for the military. You take care of your troops and your troops take care of you."

Brown is a former Marine and a 15-year veteran of the Memphis Police Department. In May of 2011 he injured his shoulder assisting at the scene of an accident.

He had surgery, but his shoulder only got worse. He was ordered back to work in December 2011, but did not feel safe returning.

"I can't wear a vest," he said. "I can't stand any pressure on my right shoulder. I cannot draw my weapon from my right hip. I cannot fire my gun."

Officer Brown got a second opinion from his personal doctor who said the Memphis police officer has nerve damage. He's since had several nerve blocks and has been recommended for a spinal implant.

But, Officer Brown no longer has health insurance. He's used all his sick time and hasn't received a paycheck since February 2012.

He asked for desk duty, but claims the city's police force has refused his idea. Due to his injury Officer Brown said he won't go back out on the streets because he's worried about putting himself, his partner, or citizens in danger.

"If it was a citizen, how was I supposed to help that citizen when I can't even help myself?," he said.

Memphis Police Association President Mike Williams says Brown's case is not unique. Far too many officers are being sent back to work before they are physically ready, he said.

"If we're not 100 percent, we can't be out on the street," Williams said. "You put yourself in danger, you partner in danger, you risk re-injuring yourself. You have a lot of officers who come back to work when they're not capable, because they havoc to take care of their families."

In February, FOX13 News obtained an on the job injury for that ordered an officer back to work with the restriction of no shooting.

Williams said these problems started springing up after the city of Memphis stopped allowing officers to see their personal doctors for injuries cases. Now, they go to doctors contracted by the city.

Williams said the city pressures the contractor to get officers back to work.

But Mayor A C Wharton says that's simply not true.

"There is no pressure, I don't want to address it in detail, and I'm not going to blow smoke with you," Mr. Wharton said. "I've heard a little bit about it, but I haven't found any evidence of anyone putting pressure on anybody to go back to work."

Williams said this has only been a problem since city contracted doctors were brought on board.

"We used to be able to go to our own private doctors," Williams said. "The city said private doctors were keeping officers out too long. We're saying city doctors are returning you to work too early. We need to work together to find a happy medium."

Any compromise may be too late for Officer Brown. Soon, he will have no home, not knowing how he will provide for his family.

"That is the question I face every day," Officer Brown said. "What do I do now? where do I go from here?"

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