WASHINGTON (WUSA) -- Mayor-Elect Vincent Gray missed the funeral Thursday for a DC Police officer killed in the line of duty over the weekend, leaving members of the police union that endorsed Gray's candidacy offended and criticizing the move as being disrespectful.
Washington Post writer Mike Debonis was the first to report this apparent gaffe on the part of the Mayor Elect, reporting that Gray instead was having lunch with councilman Kwame Brown at the 4th Estate restaurant in the National Press Club.
Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) spokesperson, Kris Baumann, angrily told 9NEWS NOW the fact that the mayor-elect, Mr. Brown, and other members of the council were not in attendance at the funeral showed a lack of respect and was just "disgusting."
We reached Gray's spokesperson Doxie McCoy for comment and she told us, "It had nothing to do with lunch, it was a staff error." McCoy says Gray's staff neglected to inform him that the funeral services were Thursday.
McCoy said, "If we would have informed him he would have attended. We deeply regret the error. He has reached out to the family, tried to call the officer's parents, and his wife."
McCoy also told 9NEWS NOW that earlier this week Gray sent a donation to the memorial fund that was established for the benefit of the officer's unborn child.
The FOP's Baumann however, was not satisfied by that explanation, and said particularly given the number of road closings in the city as a result of the funeral procession for the officer, it was difficult to understand that Gray and Brown could have been unaware that the funeral was being held Thursday.
That funeral procession began at about 12:30pm in Woodbridge, Virginia, and then proceeded north up I-95 and 395 into the city. It went past the 7th District station where officer Dittamo was assigned, and eventually back down to Virginia for burial in Manassas.
Officer Dittamo's death was the first line-of-duty death for District police since 2007.
Written by Bill Starks
9NEWS NOW and wusa9.com