Worcester District 4 Councilor Sarai Rivera has distributed cartoons of cops shooting young men of color in the back. She does not have the back of law enforcement officers and the family of hero Worcester Police Officer Manny Familia knew it. That's why Rivera and two other anti-police councilors were told to stay away from last Thursday's funeral for the officer who died trying to save a drowning kid. The other councilors bowed out with little fanfare, but not Sarai Rivera. She has made a spectacle of herself and caused great distress to Officer Familia's widow. On Friday, Jennifer Familia sent me a statement (below) explaining the anguish Councilor Rivera has caused her while she grieves the loss of her husband. Listen to my take on the whole situation in the podcast below.
Statement from Officer Familia's widow.
I wanted to take a moment first to thank Chief Sargent and the Worcester Police Department, all of the other agencies and law enforcement officers who attended the funeral service, and the Worcester community at-large, for the outpouring of support our family has received following the passing of my beloved husband, Manny. I could have never imagined the support that has been expressed to me and our family and it has given us great comfort during this difficult time. We will never forget the love you have shown us.
A special thanks to Manny’s brother and sister officers in the Worcester Police Department. Manny and I often discussed how difficult the political environment had become for police officers. The recent irresponsible public statements of many public servants regarding the Worcester Police and Worcester Police Officers troubled Manny very much. He loved his job and his fellow officers and believed in his mission.
Finally, it has come to my attention that certain local officials have commented regarding my request that they not attend the services for Manny. I want to state clearly that the request not to attend came directly from me because it was consistent with my husband’s wishes. The fact that the day after I had to bury my husband, the father of my children, I had to interrupt my family’s mourning to respond to these false narratives by a few public officials is disgusting and disrespectful to a hero who made the ultimate sacrifice for his community. Such individuals seek to make political points or further divide our wonderful community.
Over the past couple of years my husband and I have had to listen to the political grandstanding by a few who were spewing and continue to spew their disdain for the men and women who protect our community day and night. To these politicians you have exposed yourselves to be exactly the people we didn’t want attending a hero’s send off, because unlike my husband, you have shown that your selfishness exceeds the true values that this community holds.
As for the Worcester Telegram and Gazette and the reporter who wrote the story a day after Manny’s funeral, you exemplify the reason why your industry and your newspaper are failing miserably.
June 11, 2021