VALPARAISO, Ind. — Decorated Chicago police officer Ronald Newman, the father of Purdue basketball player and former Valparaiso High School star Brandon Newman, passed away this weekend after contracting COVID-19. He was 59 years old.
Newman, who worked on Chicago's South Side and had earned more than 130 awards during his 20-year career with the Chicago Police Department, is the third officer from Chicago to die of the virus. More than 330 officers out on the front line daily have tested positive in the past month.
Brandon Newman is a freshman at Purdue. The 6-foot-4 guard redshirted during the 2019-20 season, but is expected to have a bright future with the Boilermakers. He was a four-star recruit who finished second in the 2019 Indiana Mr. Basketball voting to Trayce Jackson-Davis (Center Grove/Indiana) after averaging 27.2 points and 8.8 rebounds at Valparaiso. He was also a member of the 2019 Indiana All-Star team along with Purdue teammate Isaiah Thompson.
Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot and Acting Supt. David Brown announced the death of Newman.
"I had the opportunity to speak with his widow and offered our deepest condolences to her and the family as well as our continued support for anything they need in this time of grief," Mayor Lightfoot said. "His wife works as a civilian employee for CPD's Office of Community Policing," Brown said. "This was truly a police family. It has sent shock waves through our department again."
.Newman’s last day of work was March 22 and he was admitted to a hospital four days later, Brown said.
“Officer Newman never shied away from a difficult assignment,” acting police Superintendent David Brown said at City Hall. "He worked a tough neighborhood and would quickly respond to officers calling for backup.
“First responders cannot stay at home during this outbreak. We are out in the public, patrolling the streets and keeping people safe,” said Brown. “Today, there is one less officer that will be out on patrol. The city has lost a dedicated public servant, a husband, a father and a brave, courageous hero.”
Kevin Graham, president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, told the Chicago Tribune that it “lost a valued member of the (FOP), the police department lost a valued police officer and our society has lost someone that can just never be replaced."
At City Hall, Graham talked about how someone from his office who worked with Newman for a number of years said of him, “the people of the city of Chicago could go to sleep every night knowing that Ron was out there protecting them, and that they should feel safe … Ron was a person that everyone liked to work with.”