Philly to pay funeral expenses for slain Officer Moses Walker

Moses Walker Jr. was on his way home.
Moses Walker Jr. was on his way home.
Posted: September 08, 2012

The city will pay the funeral expenses for Police Officer Moses Walker Jr. because he died in the line of duty, officials announced Thursday.

Walker was walking home after work in civilian clothes shortly before 6 a.m. Aug. 18 when he was killed in a robbery attempt.

The city took until Thursday to complete the process to determine whether the circumstances of his death qualified for funeral expenses. In the meantime, police and politicians fumed.

Earlier in the day, City Councilman James F. Kenney blasted the Nutter administration for not deciding sooner, saying he would seek to create a "hero panel" to make such determinations.

Walker appeared in surveillance footage to be eyeing his stalkers warily before they approached him in the 2000 block of Cecil B. Moore Avenue. Walker reportedly reached for his personal weapon but was shot three times.

Kenney said he would have needed no time to make the decision. "I sign that paperwork in the hospital, not two weeks later," he said.

Mayor Nutter's spokesman, Mark McDonald, said: "The city has a well-trod process for determining whether a firefighter or a police officer was killed in the line of duty."

That process can take two to four weeks, McDonald said, following a police investigation and reviews by city lawyers and risk managers. Nutter informed Walker's family of the decision Thursday.

If an officer's death is considered on-duty, the city pays $15,000 for funeral costs, and the officer's survivors are entitled to pension and other financial benefits.

The city considered the July death of Highway Patrol Officer Brian J. Lorenzo, who was killed on his way home by an alleged drunk driver traveling the wrong way on I-95, to be on-duty.

But the city did not rule that way in the death of Officer Marc Brady, who was killed two days after Lorenzo. Brady was biking near his Mount Airy home when his girlfriend's ex-boyfriend ran him down with his car. Brady and the ex-boyfriend had "bad blood" between them, investigators said.

Kenney said he would introduce a bill in the coming weeks to create an independent five-person "hero panel" to decide these matters. He envisions one member each being appointed by the mayor, the Council president, and the fire and police commissioners, with the fifth selected through some other application process.


Contact Troy Graham at 215-854-2730 or tgraham@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @troyjgraham.

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