City repays disabled officer's service by taking away benefits - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

City repays disabled officer's service by taking away benefits

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

Officer Jason Roy is lucky to be alive and talking.  In 2011, he was involved in a high-speed chase with a suspected car thief.

"We're chasing this guy.  He loses control first then I lose control of the car, flips several times.  We land in the ditch.  My partner gets out and I'm basically left for dead," Roy said.

But the 33-year-old wasn't dead.  Initially, he was totally paralyzed.  Slowly, he regained feeling and control of the right side of his body.  His left side remains paralyzed.

"I can't work; I will never be a police officer again; this has changed my life forever, and you're gonna sit here and tell me that based on what this doctor said, who saw me for 10 minutes, you're gonna deny me my benefits?" he asked.

That is the biggest obstacle this medically-retired Houston Police officer and single father faces today.  The City of Houston told him he doesn't qualify for lifetime income benefits, despite being partially paralyzed on the job.

He's hurt and angry.

"You're telling me I go out and work for you and I get hurt protecting and serving the community and this is what I get?" he asked.

A disability doctor sent Roy a letter, saying he qualified for lifetime benefits but when a city contract attorney asked the doctor to clarify his decision, that doctor changed his ruling.  He later wrote Roy qualifies medically for lifetime benefits but doesn't meet the criteria legally.

HPD Chief Charles McClelland gave Roy accolades, but that's all he can do in this situation because it was the city's decision to deny Roy his benefits.

"If those decisions were left up to me, then obviously I think everyone in this room know what the decision would be," McLelland said.

In the meantime, Roy is a broken man, angry after putting his life on the line for a city that leaves him out to dry.

City of Houston Communications Director Janice Evans issued this statement:

"The City of Houston is cooperating fully and is not contesting Officer Roy's medical condition.  The case is moving through the process dictated by the state.  The next scheduled hearing will occur in mid-November.  The decision as to whether benefits are granted is made by the Worker's Compensation Division of the Texas Department of Insurance, not the city."

Ray Hunt, president of the Houston Police Officers Union, disagreed with Evans, saying the city is self-insured and if Mayor Annise Parker wants to give Roy his benefits, all she has to do is say so.

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