A lieutenant with the New York Police Department who knelt alongside George Floyd protesters apologized for doing so in an email to his colleagues, writing, “The cop in me wants to kick my own

In a June 3 email obtained by NBC New York, the officer, Lt. Robert Cattani, said his kneeling with protesters “goes against every principle and value that I stand for.”

Cattani was among at least four officers who submitted to demonstrators’ chants of “NYPD take a knee” during a May 31 protest in Lower Manhattan, according to the New York Post, which first reported the email.

The police lieutenant told his colleagues in the email that he had trouble sleeping after he “made a horrible decision to give into a crowd of protesters demands and kneeled alongside several other officers.”

The symbolic pose gained prominence in 2016 after Colin Kaepernick, then quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, began kneeling during the national anthem before games to protest racial inequality and police brutality against people of color.

In his email, Cattani said he knelt to appease protesters.

“The conditions prior to the decision to take a knee were very difficult as we were put center stage with the entire crowd chanting,” he wrote.

“I know I made the wrong decision,” he added. “We didn’t know how the protesters would have reacted if we didn’t and were attempting to reduce any extra violence.”

He said he thought that by kneeling, maybe “one protester/rioter who saw it would later think twice about fighting or hurting a cop.”

Cattani said he spent the first part of his career working to build a reputation as a good cop and that he “threw that all in the garbage” on May 31.

“I know that it was wrong and something I will be shamed and humiliated about for the rest of my life,” he wrote.

Protesters across the country and around the world have called for greater police accountability since George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, died after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes on May 25.

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