Junior Sesay, a survivor of the Sierra Leone civil war where he witnessed his grandmother’s brutal death, sought refuge and peace in the US.
He became a part of the NYPD, rising to the rank of detective after a decade of service.
Yet, during the Brooklyn riots following George Floyd’s death, Sesay was reminded of the violent past he had tried to escape.
Now 39 and a father to three, Sesay is facing a disciplinary hearing for an incident on May 30, 2020. He is alleged to have driven his patrol car into a group of protesters who were attacking the vehicle.
“I felt like I was about to meet my grandmother again,” the detective remembered.
Having joined the NYPD in 2010, Sesay had been elevated to detective just a day prior. His assignment that day was to transport two detained demonstrators from the 70 Precinct in Flatbush to One Police Plaza in lower Manhattan.
Footage indicates that while near Grand Army Plaza on Ocean Avenue, a group of protesters halted a car ahead of Sesay’s official SUV. After a short standoff, the vehicle was allowed to proceed. However, the group then encircled Sesay’s police vehicle.
A voice from the crowd can be heard shouting, “Burn it down!”
This incited traumatic memories in Sesay, recalling his 75-year-old grandmother being thrown into their burning home in Africa. He thought about his three daughters: Kadijah, Amirah, and Rema.
“It felt like déjà vu,” commented the detective.
What bewildered Sesay was the fact that he was being targeted merely for his affiliation with the NYPD. Being a black individual, George Floyd’s tragic end at the hands of the Minneapolis police also profoundly impacted him.
“They were after us,” an emotional Sesay stated. Amidst the chaos, with barriers and objects being thrown, he tried to find an escape route.
While evading the crowd, Sesay narrowly avoided injuring anyone, though his vehicle appeared to graze a bicycle held by a protester.
Despite no formal complaints or injuries, a video submitted a year later to the Civilian Complaint Review Board initiated a disciplinary case against Sesay.
He is now facing multiple charges, including abuse of authority and threat of force. If found guilty at the upcoming administrative hearing, he might lose 30 vacation days and have a disciplinary record.
James Moschella, a lawyer for the Detective Endowment Association, labeled the trial a farce.
Sesay’s “untruthful statement” charge originates from him being unable to recall the exact moment his vehicle’s rear window was broken amidst the commotion.
Moschella criticized the CCRB, stating, “Their proclaimed impartiality is clearly contradicted by this case.”
Reflecting on his ordeal, Sesay voiced his uncertainty about continuing with the NYPD. He remarked, “It’s disheartening to see those you pledge to protect transform in such a manner.”
Source: New York Post