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New York State Democratic Senate candidate Christian Amato confirmed a photo that showed him at a meeting of Black Lives Matter in 2020 with a sign with an anti-police slogan, but refused to know what it was.
Amato was spotted at the protest, which responded to a Back the Blue event in the Bronx, with a sign saying “ACAB,” an acronym for “all officers are bastards,” the New York Post reported.
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Local resident Wayne Gurman, who attended the pro-police event, took the picture when he saw Amato at the counter-demonstration.
“It’s ridiculous that Amato is running for Senate,” Gurman told the Post. “He’s an incredible creature.”
Amato admitted to the Post that it was him in the picture, but claimed that he was not aware of what he was wearing.
“Someone gave me the sign and I did not know it said ‘ACAB’. I had no idea,” he said. “I completely grabbed the sign in a hurry.”
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Amato is running for the state’s Senate seat, which is currently held by Democratic Senator Alessandra Biaggi, for whom he once worked as an employee before retiring in 2019. Biaggi is now seeking a seat in Congress.
Lawyer James Gisondi, who is running against Amato in the Democratic primary, shared the photo on Twitter, in which he stated that Amato is “[u]nfit to perform public office at any level. “
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Amato insisted he is not anti-police, and told the Post he was in protest because the pro-police event was held days after George Floyd’s death.
“The officers deserve our respect. But we need our officers to be culturally cognitive,” Amato said. “When there is social unrest, it is not the best time to hold an event. One has to read the room.”