38-year-old Familia died last week after attempting to save a 14-year-old teen from the water at Green Hill Park. The teen also drowned.
Councilors Sean Rose, Khrystian King, and Sarai Rivera received calls from Worchester's city manager Edward Agustus Jr. who relayed the family's requests.
"We have a true hero and a tragedy and a very well-liked Latin man in our community,” Rose said. "This is the family's wish. I didn't really get into details why with a grieving family." On Facebook, Rose stated that "I pray the family of Officer Familia, the family of Troy Love and the Worcester Police Department find comfort and peace during this difficult time."
While Rivera did not comment on the incident directly, a reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette tweeted that Rivera confirmed that the family requested she not attend.
On Facebook, King wrote that he met Familia at around 14-years-old while playing in a summer basketball league: "Manny Familia lost his life in the midst of an act of valor while trying to save another. We should only be considering the ultimate sacrifice that Manny and his loved ones have made while honoring and planning for his continual legacy." King wrote that out of the "utmost respect for Manny, his family, his friends, his loved ones, the officers that co-responded and entered the water with him, his Law Enforcement colleagues, Worcester's Dominican and Latino Community, Worcester's Basketball community, and the entire City of Worcester," he declines any further comment. "I continue to have the utmost respect and love for Manny. May he rest in peace," King added.
Many have speculated that requests for those city councilors not to attend stemmed from their alleged anti-police stances.
Both King and Rivera signed a petition last year to discuss the reallocation of a portion of the police department's funding. According to MassLive, councilor-at-large Gary Rosen signed that same petition, but was in attendance at the funeral.
Other attendees, like Congressman Jim McGovern, have urged for reduced funding or police reform as well. McGovern urged in the wake of George Floyd's death for the passing of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Worcester Police Sargent and president of the IBO Local 504 police union Rick Cipro told MassLive that he was not aware of the family's request, but in his eyes as the head of the union, those three councilors have gone after police in the last year.
Guillermo Creamer Jr, a candidate for Worchester City Council, wrote a statement on Friday demanding to know why the three councilors were requested not to attend, pointing out that the three are the city's only BIPOC Councilors.