FOP to city: Why help pay for concert and not cop’s funeral?

Posted: August 31, 2012

The city is still weighing whether to pay the funeral expenses of slain police Officer Moses Walker Jr. - and the police union is not happy about it.

"How do you justify having a concert on the parkway and not saying how much it costs and not pay for an officer's funeral?" asked Fraternal Order of Police President John McNesby.

Walker was out of uniform when he was shot and killed in North Philadelphia after his shift at the 22nd Police District ended on Aug. 18. Mayoral spokesman Mark McDonald said the city is reviewing whether Walker qualifies for funeral benefits. McNesby says that because Walker drew his gun, he was on the job.

"He decided to take police action, he was on duty," said McNesby.

McNesby estimated the funeral and associated costs at $75,000, which includes paying for added expenses such as travel and lodging for out-of-town family members. He said the FOP would pay the bills using the FOP Survivors Fund for now.

Councilman Jim Kenney said he was committed to finding a way to pay if the mayor does not.

"Why all the platitudes, why all the pomp of an official city burial, when the one thing you can do for a family is make sure they're economically whole," Kenney said.

Three other officers were killed while off duty this year. The city paid the funeral expenses of one of them, Brian Lorenzo, a highway patrol officer who was killed in a crash on I-95 in July.

McDonald said there is a process for the review that will take some time. He also stressed that the Made in America concert festival is a separate event that has no bearing on the decision.

Contact Catherine Lucey at luceyc@phillynews.com or 215-854-4172. Follow her on Twitter @PhillyClout. Read her blog at phillyclout.com.

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