A New York Police Department lieutenant sent out a warning to his fellow officers after taking a knee at the mob’s demand — and later realizing the horrible decision will haunt him for the rest of his life.
NYPD Lt. Robert Cattani expressed his regret in an email to his fellow officers, according to a copy of the message obtained by the New York Post.
In the June 3 email, Cattani said he thought taking a knee would help avert violence in the future, protecting him and his coworkers.
“I know I made the wrong decision,” he said, explaining that the protesters’ chants were putting all the focus on the officers.
“We didn’t know how the protesters would have reacted if we didn’t and were attempting to reduce any extra violence.”
During the demonstration where Cattani made the fateful error, protesters were filmed demanding the officers take the knee. Several uniformed cops then knelt in front of the roaring crowd.
In Foley Square, resounding chants of “NYPD take a knee.” Eventually, four cops kneel to huge chants. “We just want to get home safely, same as you,” says one protester. pic.twitter.com/6eRC4h9L0Q
— Jake Offenhartz (@jangelooff) June 1, 2020
The officer said his own action was more about reaching out to a riled-up crowd than pushing any higher political message.
“I thought maybe that one protester/rioters who saw it would later think twice about fighting or hurting a cop,” Cattani’s email read, according to the Post. “I was wrong.”
“I know that it was wrong,” the officer later continued, “and something I will be shamed and humiliated about for the rest of my life.”
— New York Post (@nypost) June 11, 2020
Cattani said that despite his new stance on the Black Lives Matter symbol of protest, he maintains the police actions in Minneapolis that ended in George Floyd’s death were wrong.
Still, the officer will continue to regret his destructive decision to take a knee. Cattani plans to remain with the NYPD even though his decision will haunt him for the rest of his career.
“I spent the first part of my career thriving to build a reputation of a good cop,” he wrote. “I threw that all in the garbage in Sunday.”
Cattani’s letter of regret comes as sometimes-violent protests against police brutality continue to plague parts of the nation. The rampages have left businesses destroyed and cultural icons in pieces on the ground.
During the chaos, law enforcement’s role in American society has been called into question.
Some cities have partially defunded police departments, while others are heading for a full dissolution of law enforcement agencies.
Just as the coronavirus pandemic is changing many aspects of the U.S. economy, the current wave of anti-police sentiment is virtually guaranteed to leave American law enforcement forever altered.
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