Lt. Robert Cattani of the NYPD’s Midtown South Precinct was one of four officers who took a knee at a May 30 protest march in Foley Square.
The quartet of cops kneeled as protesters chanted “NYPD, take a knee!” and received cheers for the gesture, as this Facebook clip shows.
But while the gesture was interpreted as an olive branch to the community, Cattani told fellow officers that he regrets his “horrible decision to give into a crowd of protesters’ demands.”
Cattani sent an apology email to his fellow officers on June 3 in which he said “the cop in me wants to kick my own ass,” according to the New York Post.
He explained further:
“The conditions prior to the decision to take a knee were very difficult as we were put center stage with the entire crowd chanting.
“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.”
Here’s a copy of the letter Cattani sent to fellow officers.
Cattani said at the time he made what he calls his “bad decision,” he thought “maybe that one protestor/rioter who saw it would later think twice about fighting or hurting a cop” but added, “I was wrong.”
“I know that it was wrong and something I will be shamed and humiliated about for the rest of my life,” he said. “I do not place blame on anyone other than myself for not standing my ground.”
Cattani added that his decision to kneel “goes against every principle and value I stand for” and that he’s considered leaving the department.
“I could not imagine the idea of ever coming back to work and putting on the uniform I so wrongly shamed,” he wrote. “However, I decided that was the easy way out for me and I will continue to come to work every day being there for my personnel.”
Cattani is the latest New York police officer to cry victim as numerous videos showing police violence are making citizens rethink the role of law enforcement in American society.
Earlier this week, Mike O’Meara, president of the New York Police Benevolent Association, went viral in a video in which he demanded that people “stop treating us like animals and thugs and start treating us with some respect.”