‘Marvelous’ officer laid to rest

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Thousands of law enforcement officers wrapped around the Blake-Lamb Funeral Home in Oak Lawn last Thursday to offer their condolences to the family of slain Chicago police officer Nathaniel Taylor Jr. Even more descended on a Southwest Side neighborhood t

Thousands of law enforcement officers wrapped around the Blake-Lamb Funeral Home in Oak Lawn last Thursday to offer their condolences to the family of slain Chicago police officer Nathaniel Taylor Jr. Even more descended on a Southwest Side neighborhood the next day to pay their final respects to him.

As the 39-year-old’s widow, Alcione Taylor, sat in a chair next to his casket stroking his chest, and as his 5-year-old daughter, Naomi, sat a few rows behind, lines of officers from Chicago, Indiana, Wisconsin, the Army and Marines, among others, filed into the funeral home to pay homage to the fallen officer.

Taylor, a 14-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department, was fatally shot in the head and chest Sept. 28 allegedly by Lamar Cooper, a convicted felon, while executing a search warrant on Cooper’s home in the 7900 block of South Clyde Avenue. Cooper has been charged with first-degree murder. He previously served time for the attempted murder of a police officer and for robbery.

At his services at St. Bede Catholic Church, a sea of navy blue took over the 8300 block of South Kostner Avenue, and its surrounding area, to listen as relatives, co-workers and friends remembered Taylor, a husband, father and former U.S. Marine.

“Today is a stark reminder of the daily sacrifice that officer’s face. You are that thin blue line. You are the difference between good and evil,” Chicago police Supt. Jody Weis said Friday, as his voice echoed into the church’s parking lot.

Weis said “Nate,” who received 55 awards for his service in the department, was a “cop’s cop” because he loved his job. And it was evident that he genuinely cared about those around him and also served as a mentor to his peers.

Unit No. 189, where Taylor served as a drug investigator in the Englewood District, lost a great comrade, Weis said.

Taylor’s cousin and fellow officer, Cedric Taylor, said Nate’s profession, personality, character and courage “exceeded his office.”

“His office only reinforced the person he was. He always spoke from the heart. I never saw him in a bad mood,” Cedric Taylor said of his best friend and cousin.

Cedric Taylor said there is no reason to try to make sense of what happened to his cousin. Make no mistake, what happened was wrong, but Nate was doing the right thing, he said.

Speaking through a Portugese translator, the slain officer’s wife said, “He was always happy. Even when we had an argument or disagreed, he always smiled. He was always marvelous and will continue to be marvelous. He will always be with me in my heart.”

Also at the service, a representative from St. Xavier University, where Taylor received his bachelor’s degree last January, posthumously awarded Taylor his MBA degree.

The officer was a few classes shy of receiving his master’s degree in fraud examination and management.

Taylor is the third Chicago police officer killed in the last three months. The last African American officer felled by gun violence while on the job was Eric Lee in 2001, also from the Englewood District.

“This is just too much. I don’t know how much more we can take,” an officer in the Englewood District said after Taylor’s service.

Taylor is survived by his wife, daughter, two sisters and a brother.

Copyright 2008 Chicago Defender. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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