Junior Sesay saw his grandmother burned to death during a civil war in Sierra Leone, and came to the US seeking peace.
He joined the NYPD, where he proudly made the rank of detective after 10 years in uniform.
But when his patrol car was attacked during one of the George Floyd riots in Brooklyn, he was forced to relive the horrors of home once more.
Sesay, a 39-year-old father of three, faces a disciplinary trial this week for allegedly driving his patrol car into a crowd on May 30, 2020, as they surrounded and hurled objects at the vehicle.
“I thought I was going to go up and visit my grandmother,” the detective recalled.
Sesay, who joined the NYPD in 2010, had just been promoted from police officer to detective the day before when he was ordered to transport two arrested protesters from the 70 Precinct stationhouse in Flatbush to One Police Plaza in lower Manhattan for processing.
As he approached Grand Army Plaza on Ocean Avenue a group of protesters stopped a vehicle in front of his marked SUV, video shows.
After a brief delay, the crowd of about a dozen allowed the civilian vehicle to pass, with one crowd member heard on the video saying, “He’s not who we want.”
Then the group surrounded the cop car.
“Burn that motherf–ker!!!” a rioter can be heard screaming on the audio.
Memories of how he saw his 75-year-old grandmother thrown into the family’s burning home back in Africa flooded his mind. He thought of his daughters Kadijah, 16, Amirah,10, and Rema, 8.
“It’s like a flashback,” the detective said.
Sesay couldn’t believe he was being singled out simply because he “took an oath to protect the city and had an NYPD” vehicle. As a black man, the George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis cops also weighed heavily on his mind.
“They were targeting us,” the cop recalled in tears. “And then metal barriers, orange cones and all sorts of objects were thrown at us. I activated my turret lights, press on the sirens. There was no way out.”
But he carefully maneuvered around the crowd, managing not to strike anyone. But his bumper seems to skim a bicycle that one protestor is holding in an attempt to block the cop car.
No complaint was ever filed and no one was hurt. But someone sent in the video a year later the Civilian Complaint Review Board, which brought a disciplinary case against Sesay on its own.
Sesay faces charges of abuse of authority, threat of force, untruthful statement and impeding an investigation, records show. He will be tried at an administrative hearing on Wednesday and could lose 30 vacation days and have a mark on his record.
Detective Endowment Association lawyer James Moschella said the trial is a sham.
The “untruthful statement” charge derived from Sesay not remembering exactly when his car’s rear window was smashed during the mayhem.
“I think this incident and these charges really illustrate just how biased and anti-police the CCRB really are,” Moschella said. “They claim to be an independent fact finder but this case illustrates just how false that narrative is.”
Sesay said he’s not sure how long he will stay with the NYPD because he is so upset about what happened.
“I took an oath to protect life and property,” Sesay said. “It’s a shame to see the people you use your hand to protect change from human being into animal.”