Governor Andrew Cuomo spoke again on Monday about rallies and protests around New York and the United States over the weekend. Some of those turned violent – and resulted in multi-night curfews.
The protests were prompted by the killing of George Floyd. A police officer was caught on video pressing his knee onto the neck of Floyd for 9-minutes, as he gasped for air.
The cities of Rochester and Syracuse were particularly hard hit by riots, which occurred after peaceful protests.
“State Police did a great job. We had a few scattered arrests in Upstate New York, but the local governments did a great job, the people did a great job, the protesters were responsible – and it wasn’t great – but it wasn’t bad either Upstate,” Cuomo said of the weekend.
He said there were a handful of arrests, but nothing that could not be handled by local and state law enforcement.
There were a number of peaceful demonstrations, which involved no violence or property destruction – before or after. Those took place in Auburn, Ithaca, and Geneva locally.
Hundreds showed up in Geneva as nightfall arrived on Sunday.
“Is there a larger problem? Of course,” Cuomo added. “There are 50 cases just like Mr. Floyd. What have we learned? Nothing?”
He called for legislative action across the U.S. to address it.
“Yes we should be outraged, and yes there is a larger point to be made. It is racism, it is fundamental inequality and injustice.” He talked about the ‘Tale of Two Cities’ spoken about by his father, Mario Cuomo, while he was Governor in 1984.
He called for a national ban on excessive force and chokeholds by law enforcement. Cuomo also called for independent investigations of police abuse and misconduct. “There is no self-policing,” he added. “If there’s an allegation, there’s a special prosecutor. Give people comfort that the investigation is real.”
The Governor also called for disciplinary records to be disclosed for police officers involved in excessive force investigations. “By the way, those records can exonerate officers,” he continued. Cuomo said education equality, affordable housing, and anti-poverty policies would be needed to fix the problems.
“Do something about it,” Cuomo commanded. He called on the federal government to find money to fund all of these programs. “Pass a law that actually changes the reality,” the Governor added. “You’re in a position to make change. Use this moment to galvanize public support – use that outrage, to actually make a change. Otherwise it’s just screaming into the wind.”