A New York Police Department lieutenant apologized to fellow officers for taking a knee with George Floyd protesters in Manhattan, the New York Post reported Thursday.
Lt. Robert Cattani of the Midtown South Precinct told the department “the cop in me wants to kick my own ass,” in an email obtained by The Post on June 3. Cattani said he lost sleep over the “horrible decision to give into a crowd of protesters’ demands.”
“The conditions prior to the decision to take a knee were very difficult as we were put center stage with the entire crowd chanting,” Cattani said, according to The Post. “I know I made the wrong decision. We didn’t know how the protesters would have reacted if we didn’t and were attempting to reduce any extra violence.”
Nationwide protests followed George Floyd’s death on May 25 after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, video showed. Cattani and at least four other cops complied with protesters’ chants “NYPD, take a knee,” on May 31 at a protest in lower Manhattan’s Foley Square, The Post reported.
“I thought maybe that one protester/rioter who saw it would later think twice about fighting or hurting a cop,” Cattani said, The Post reported. “I was wrong. At least that [sic] what I told myself when we made that bad decision. I know that it was wrong and something I will be shamed and humiliated about for the rest of my life.”
Police sources questioned Cattani’s actions, but said they were relieved he apologized to the department, The Post reported. “I’m glad he took it back, because your officers are out here battling with these guys and that’s what you do to show appreciation? Never show your weakness,” an unnamed police source told The Post. “You did it to appease these people who didn’t appreciate you anyway.”
“I spent the first part of my career thriving to build a reputation of a good cop, I threw that all in the garbage on Sunday,” Cattani’s email said, The Post reported. Though he regrets kneeling at the protest, Cattani condemned former officer Derek Chauvin, the officer charged with Floyd’s death.
“We all know that asshole in Minneapolis was wrong. Yet we don’t concede for other officers’ mistakes. I do not place blame on anyone other than myself for not standing my ground,” Cattani said.
Other officers took similar actions at protests across the city, notably, Chief of Department Terence Monahan, the NYPD’s highest-ranking uniformed cop, The Post reported. The act was praised by Police Commissioner Dermot Shea and Democratic New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Seven cops were injured and around 250 protesters were arrested in New York City from May 31 to June 1, the NYPD reported.
The NYPD, Shea and de Blasio did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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