Gov. Cuomo said Monday that some actions by the NYPD have “exacerbated the anger” amid massive protests against police brutality.
The governor, while condemning looting and other violent acts on part of some protesters, called videos from recent demonstrations showing an NYPD vehicle plowing into a crowd and other images of cops acting aggressively “disturbing.”
“There are videos of some NYPD actions that are very disturbing,” he said. “There are videos of NYPD cars driving into a crowd that are very disturbing. Pulling a mask down off of a person to pepper spray them. Throwing a woman to the ground. It’s on video. It’s on video.”
Speaking “as a guy from Queens” and not as governor, he said he believes that “if they drive a car into a crowd, then they should be fired.”
The governor pleaded for calm after a weekend of revolt that saw looting and fires set across the city in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody in Minnesota last week.
Thousands took to the streets over the weekend, participating in largely peaceful marches during the day. But confrontations between protesters and cops have become commonplace after dark.
Cuomo said he is weighing a possible curfew and will talk to Mayor de Blasio about other options.
“Last night was bad for everyone,” he said, noting that he supports the underlying message of the protests, but said violence “accomplishes nothing.”
“I share the outrage of the injustice and I stand with the protesters,” he said. “It’s not just George Floyd. There are 50 or more cases just like it. It is rooted in hundreds of years of racism and injustice. Let’s use this energy constructively and demand real, positive change.”
Cuomo repeated that he has asked Attorney General Letitia James to oversee an investigation into NYPD behavior and said he wants to see a report within 30 days.
He also called for national bans on the use of excessive force and chokeholds from police officers on chokeholds.
The governor reiterated his support for legislation ending a provision that shields police disciplinary records from public view, known as 50-a. Cuomo, pitting himself against de Blasio, maintained that local officials could still release the information without a change in the law.
I don’t believe today the law stops (mayors) from releasing disciplinary records,” he said. “If a mayor wanted to release the records, they would release the records.”
While offering support for the protesters, Cuomo warned that violence, looting and other actions dilute the message and will embolden opponents.
“They’re going to try to paint this whole protest movement they’re all criminals, they’re all looters. Why? Because they don’t want to talk about Mr. Floyd’s death,” Cuomo said.
“There’s no doubt that this situation has done a lot of damage.
“Last night was bad, the looting, the criminality,
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