CORTLAND & AUBURN, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – Peaceful protesters across the country aren’t just linking arms with each other, members of law enforcement in many cities including two in Central New York are also standing side by side to their support.
On Monday, Cortland Police Officer Jesse Abbott walked arm in arm with a group of protestors heading to a demonstration in support of George Floyd.
“I was walking next to my buddy and I got emotional. You know I’m sitting there with my uniform, my hat, and my mask, but it’s a tough time for everybody,” said Officer Abbott.
Abbott is a Community Oriented Police Officer, one of only a few across New York that is paid through a special grant from the state. While Abbott says he is always connected to the City of Cortland his job right now is even more important.
“It shows the reality, the fact that we are working with the community to keep things safe,” Auburn Deputy Chief Roger Anthony said.
On Sunday, the Auburn Police Department lead a march of demonstrators through the streets with a police cruiser and officers kneeled alongside protesters during a moment of silence for George Floyd.
They too outraged at what happened in Minneapolis.
“There isn’t a cop in the country that thinks the use of force used in Minneapolis was acceptable,” said Anthony.
“When I watched that video, my mind just started racing and thinking how disgusted and embarrassed,” Abbott said adding, “that takes away from all the good work that good officers are doing across the country, across Central New York.”
It also sets back progress and productive discussion between police departments and communities whether Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, or Arab.
However through small actions like the ones taken this week, Abbott and Anthony hope things will start to change.
“Hopefully a year from now when we look back this, it will have brought us together a little bit better,” Anthony said.
“Our community really does care and we do want to make the necessary changes… I think we are ahead of the game but there is always more to do,” said Abbott.