A Greek-Australian family was left “inconsolable” after two Victorian police officers reportedly interrupted Dino Kolovos’ funeral to ensure that the mourners were complying with social-distancing rules.
Helen Kolovos said a final farewell to her father on Saturday and, although it was incredibly difficult, the family made sure only ten people attended the funeral, in accordance with current social distancing rules. Her family also abided by the rules by sitting in separate pews during the service.
But in a statement sent to news.com.au, Kolovos said having armed officers in attendance at the funeral was a step too far.
“What I can’t understand is the presence of two armed police officers inside the church,” she said in her statement.
“They arrived towards the end of the funeral and showed no respect for my dad as his coffin was carried out of the church. They didn’t stop talking, taking notes as we walked by.
“It interrupted the funeral, rushed us as we left and some couldn’t follow the hearse as we made our way to the cemetery. It was deeply distressing. I understand police have a job to do but we felt it could’ve been done in a more respectful and sensitive manner.
“We plan to give my dad the send off he deserves at a later date with all our family and friends present.”
Helen’s daughter Benita Kolovos wrote on Tuesday that the “small, sad congregation” was interrupted with “about 15 minutes left in the funeral” by “two uniformed officers carrying weapons.”
“They started speaking to church staff while the funeral director cut the service short, quickly calling for the coffin to be taken out,” she said.
“As my dad, brother and two uncles carried Papou out of the church, the officers continued to question the church staff,” she said.
Yesterday we lost the man who made me who I am. My Papou Dino was always on the right side of history. He believed in human equality. He was naturally suspicious of those in authority, always backed the underdog and absolutely loved an argument. (And he always won). pic.twitter.com/8G5kwDjQ7Q
— Benita Kolovos (@benitakolovos) April 6, 2020