Updated: Oct 4, 2021
An NYPD lieutenant who took a knee alongside protesters has issued an apology to his fellow cops and claims he is ashamed to have made the decision.
Lt. Robert Cattani, 34, of the Midtown South Precinct wrote a lengthy email to his colleagues on June 3, the New York Post reports, just three days after he knelt during a Manhattan demonstration.
In the apology, Cattani said 'the cop in me wants to kick my own ass' and that he will be 'shamed and humiliated for the rest of my life' for the decision.
He adds that he has had difficulty sleeping and eating since and that he had destroyed his efforts to be a 'good cop' by 'the decision to give into a crowd of protesters'. Cattani claimed that he only did so thinking it would prevent any violence at the protest and had since thought about leaving the police department.
According to Gothamist reporter Jake Offenhartz, Cattani was later heard saying 'Only 4 of us kneeled. Like anything on social media it's either going to make or break us'.
The lieutenant now appears to have completely stepped back from the move and profusely apologized to fellow cops in an email just three days later. He claims that he felt pressured into kneeling to keep the peace and that he now believes it was the wrong call.
'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 wrote. '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.
'I thought maybe that one protester/rioters who saw it would later think twice about fighting or hurting a cop,' he continued. 'I was wrong. At least that [was] 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.'
He also said that the impact of the days leading up to this may have had an effect on him and why he chose to kneel.
'I would like to think that being up for almost 40 hours and walking 32 miles in two days might have clouded my judgement, yet still no excuse,' he wrote. 'I was here for the peaceful protests. I was there for the fights with the rioters at night. I walked, I fought, I bleed, and I still kept showing up.'
Cattani added that he disagreed with the actions of the former officers in Minneapolis who have been charged with the murder of George Floyd on May 25, the death that sparked the nationwide protests. Yet, he does not believe he is like them. 'We all know that a–hole in Minneapolis was wrong,' Cattani said.
'Yet we don't concede [sic] for other officers' mistakes. 'I do not place blame on anyone other than myself for not standing my ground,' Cattani continued, stating that it 'goes against every principle and value I stand for.'
The cop admitted that he has even thought about leaving the force out of regret for his actions and claims that he spent years trying to be a good police officer.
'I spent the first part of my career thriving to build a reputation of a good cop,' he said. 'I threw that all in the garbage in Sunday.'