A Chicago police sergeant who died after contracting COVID-19 will be laid to rest Tuesday.
Sgt. Clifford Martin was the second Chicago police officer to die after contracting the coronavirus, officials announced on April 10. He was a 25-year veteran of the force and received more than 60 awards from the department during his distinguished career, according to police.
A private, family-only service was held beginning at 11 a.m. at Calahan Funeral Home on Chicago's South Side, followed by a procession - in which officers paying their respects were asked to remain in their vehicles to continue safe social distancing policies - and burial at Lincoln Cemetery in Blue Island, CPD said.
Martin was remembered as a family man and highly decorated detective who grew up in Chicago. He leaves behind a wife and three children, two of whom followed in their father’s footsteps and joined the Chicago Police Department.
“Sgt. Martin was a Chicagoan through and through, and served the community that he loved,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. “Our hearts go out to Martin’s wife and three children, who are grieving an unimaginable loss of a husband and father taken from them so suddenly by this terrible disease.”
At the time of his passing, then-Interim Chicago Police Supt. Charlie Beck praised Martin as a man who “truly epitomized what is great about Chicago and its police department,” saying that the detective trained dozens of others during his career.
“The tragedies pile up upon each other, and they make our hearts heavy, but the men and women of the CPD go out every day,” Beck said. “They can’t stay at home and they can’t shelter in place, but they do their jobs and they do them well.”
Beck said he spoke to Martin in the hospital after his diagnosis.
“His first words were that he was concerned for his family, and he told me how badly he wanted to come back to work,” he said. “What a tremendous heart, and what a terrific loss not just for his family, but for Chicago.”
Lightfoot said that she spoke to Martin’s wife, who said that her husband would have wanted his death to serve as a reminder to take the virus seriously.
“Stay home and save lives. Don’t make their sacrifices in vain,” Lightfoot said. “This disease is real and it is deadly, and when you gather, you are not only putting yourselves at risk, but you’re putting our officers at risk as well.”
Chicago police on Friday announced that the department had a total of 334 members who reported positive COVID-19 test results. Of those, 299 were sworn members and 16 were civilian employees. There were also 19 members who reported positive test results but were not confirmed by the department.
Martin was the second of three officers to have died of COVID-19. Officials announced on April 2 that 50-year-old Marco Di Franco, a highly-decorated 21-year veteran of the force who worked in the narcotics division, had died after contracting the virus. Officer Ronald Newman, a 19-year veteran of the force with more than 130 awards to his name, also died from COVID-19, authorities announced on April 17.