Officer Sadaka Kitonyi of the Albany P.D. contributed content to this report.
After footage of George Floyd’s killing spread across the nation, people have been drawing lines in order to explain the injustice: lines between blacks and whites, police and civilians, privileged and less privileged, oppressors and oppressed.
Yet, real life always defies such overly simplistic, ideological lines of division. It may make life simpler to draw them, yet they lack the nuance of truth and deprive everyone of their uniquely beautiful identity.
“I was born and raised in the City of Albany N.Y.,” Officer Sadaka Kitonyi told The Epoch Times. “My family wasn’t rich but we weren’t dirt poor.” The officer’s parents were poor immigrants from Kenya and the Philippines.
In his youth, Kitonyi never had any interest in becoming a police officer, he said, and got into his share of trouble. Now however, he says his job as a police officer is his “calling.” “Once I embraced empathy and compassion, I became what a cop should be,” he shared.
He added, “I wake up a black man every single day of my life. A blue uniform does not negate the personal injustices I’ve faced in my life.”
After the death of George Floyd, Kitonyi noticed the sudden hatred directed at police and it prompted him to share a message with the world on social media, which got far more attention than he expected. Here is his message in full:
I am a black man.
I am a police officer.
But I am not Derek Chauvin.
And I am not George Floyd.
I am ME.
I am compassionate and I am caring, and I will always have a very big heart….so why do you hate me?
I’ve given the socks off my feet to a homeless drunk who had no shoes.
I’ve prevented a woman from going to jail for stealing laundry detergent by paying the store for it so they wouldn’t prosecute, after I found the lady next door at a laundromat washing her children’s clothes; she was desperate and had no money.
The other day, an elderly man’s car broke down on the side of a busy road and he had no phone, so I drove him to the gas station up the block and paid for his gas.
I’m a father, a husband, a son, a brother, a nephew, a cousin, a friend….so why do you want to hurt or kill me?
I’ve stepped in and arrested the man that assaulted your grandmother. He knocked her down and snatched her purse and we chased him down and took him to jail.
A lady called 911 in a panic and told the dispatchers her 4-month-old baby wasn’t breathing. We got there before the paramedics and started compressions. BY THE GRACE OF GOD, that baby is now a happy, bright kindergartener.
A crazed man began opening fire on a large crowd. In the mass hysteria of people running away, we ran towards the gunfire to stop it.
I speak slang. Instead of hello I say, ‘Whats good yo?’ Some say I have an inner-city accent, and I may not spell everything correctly or use perfect grammar…but why do you undermine me and assume I’m not smart and ignorant?
I have a high school and a college degree. I love to read books and I constantly do research to learn new skills. I graduated head of my police academy class and went on to become a course instructor for the department.
I have spoken at public forums, community meetings, and in news interviews, all very well-articulated, clear, and concise. I’ve put together evidence, facts and leads and helped solve and close cases. I AM BLACK AND I AM INTELLIGENT.
I listen to rap music, wear baggie jeans, and backwards fitteds off duty. I have tattoos all across my body. But why do you profile and stereotype me?
On Thanksgiving I volunteer with Equinox, handing out dinners to families in need.
Around Christmas, I buy hats, gloves, and meal cards with my own money and hand them out. I also prepare hot meals and distribute them down by the City Mission and at a Senior Public Housing Building.
I volunteer my own time as a youth mentor. I love to visit schools and talk to the kids. I walk up and down these neighborhoods. I live in my community. I CARE ABOUT MY COMMUNITY.
I am ME.
I am not like Derek Chauvin.
I WILL NEVER treat you like George Floyd.
And there are many, many more just like ME.
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