In a 3-2 decision, the South Carolina Supreme Court recently ruled that police officers who suffer mental trauma after killing someone in the line of duty are not entitled to worker’s compensation benefits.
As part of the court’s reasoning, they held that officers are trained in the use of deadly force and are aware that such force may need to be employed in carrying out their duties. Only those officers that suffer mental trauma from “extraordinary and unusual” job conditions, however, are eligible for worker’s compensation benefits under South Carolina law.
The court’s ruling stems from the case of Brandon Bentley, a Spartanburg County deputy sheriff, who killed a man after he threatened to take his gun and kill him. After killing the man, Bentley suffered from anxiety and depression and applied for worker’s compensation benefits.
Initially denied benefits, Bentley’s case was appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court, which decided to make a ruling on the issue.
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