After witnessing the murder of his law enforcement partner, Charleston County sheriff’s deputy Michael Ackerman said he simply could not cope. There had been a shootout in West Ashley. He watched as his partner was shot to death before Ackerman made the life-or-death decision to kill the gunman responsible.
Anyone could understand how one could suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result. However, the only reason he was eligible for assistance through the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation system is because he too had suffered a physical injury. The psychological scars, he said, were the hardest to overcome and he needed treatment, or else he would not have been able to return to work. But under state law, even the death and despair witnessed and experienced by first responders doesn’t qualify as a circumstance that is “extraordinary” or “unusual” for that line of work.
Ackerman and others are fighting that. As he explained to a reporter with The Post and Courier, he’d worked that job nearly a dozen years without ever having to use his service weapon. In seconds, he witnessed his partner’s homicide, was shot himself and had to take the life of a suspect. To say that such an event is not “extraordinary” or “unusual” defies logic. Now, he’s taking it to the legislature. Continue reading