CHICAGO — It may sound like a bureaucratic classification but for the families it matters how the city of Chicago determines what caused an officer’s death.
It matters when it comes to the honors at their funeral and the benefits for their survivors.
Chicago police officer Titus Moore was found dead inside his home in November after going on medical leave when he contracted COVID-19.
The three other Chicago police officers who died after contracting Covid all received the full benefits afforded officer killed in the line of duty. That includes full honors at their funeral and additional benefits for loved ones.
But in the week-and-a-half since Moore died, the department has refused to confirm his death as “in the line of duty.” The reason? The medical examiner had yet to finish a report and hadn’t formally notified the department that Moore had Covid.
Dr. Thea Moore is Titus Moore’s sister.
“He was sick on the job. They told him to go home,” she said. “They saw his symptoms and he had been communication with them, calling medical and not getting answers or responses.”
Titus Moore had been on the job 14 years. His father was also a Chicago police officer.
The family has been frustrated, fearing they would have to bury him Tuesday without full honors.
“We feel in limbo,” Thea Moore said. “We want to honor him, to make his arrangements and make sure Titus is taken care of.”
The family said the department told them they’d have to wait on a full toxicology report before determining burial benefits.
In April, after Officer Marco DiFranco died of Covid, the Mayor Lori Lightfoot indicated coronavirus deaths would be treated the same as others killed protecting the city.
“Since the moment this crisis arrived, it has been health care workers, first responders like this officer who have been putting their lives on the line every day to fight this virus,” Lightfoot said at the time.
“He should receive full honors,” Thea Moore said. “If the mayor and superintendent say officers who die from Covid get line of duty, we want him to get line of duty and be recognized and honored accordingly, fully.”
After WGN Investigates started asking questions, police brass decided not to wait for the toxicology report.
They held a meeting Friday afternoon and will go ahead with a full police funeral on Tuesday.
A spokesperson for the department said, “The death of Officer Titus Moore is a loss for the Chicago Police Department and the entire city… in memory of Officer Moore and his 14-years of service, CPD is coordinating an honors funeral for him next week.”
For now that determination applies only to his funeral.