The curfew in New York City has been extended for the rest of the week, through the weekend as looting and protests continue to break out in the wake of the police-assisted death of George Floyd in Minneapolis as Gov. Andrew Cuomo publicly criticized Mayor Bill de Blasio's response.
De Blasio announced that the curfew will be in effect nightly from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. through Sunday, June 7. following five nights of protests in the five boroughs and throughout the country.
“Anyone who is upset about the status quo: I am, too,” de Blasio said. “This is why I came here: to change a broken status quo. We have a lot more to do. If you choose to protest today, do it in the daytime hours, and then please go home. We have work to do this evening to keep a peaceful city.”
During his daily novel coronavirus (COVID-19) briefing on Tuesday, June 2, Cuomo said that the state needs to settle down as the entire country “battles a dynamic in the country of racial division and a hyper-political environment.”
“You have protesters who are outraged at what has happened," he said, "and then you have the criminal activity with the looting and extremist groups who are using this moment for their own purposes and exploiting this movement and moment. It’s two very different things.”
Cuomo said that he agreed with the protesters, saying “what happened to Mr. Floyd was a disgrace,” and that many, if not most, of the protests, have been peaceful in nature.
“By and large the protesters have been peaceful. … People are angry, yes, but not violent, and they’ve been peaceful protests by people who want reforms that should have been done 30, 40, 50 years ago,” he added. “New York City was looted yesterday. In the middle of Manhattan, but also in communities of color in the Bronx and in Brooklyn, where we’ve spent years on economic development.
“These looters destroyed businesses that were essential to the community and the very people we’re trying to help.
Cuomo was critical of the NYPD’s response to looters, saying that a force of nearly 40,000 trained officers should be able to contain the waves of violence and looting.
“Police must stop the looting and criminal activity," he said. "That is the essence of a police force. They are supposed to protect the community and property … and they did not do that in New York City last night.
“I’m disappointed and outraged about what happened in New York City last night, and the criminal activity that hurt everyone in the community.”
According to Cuomo, the curfew will help police deal with the looters more effectively, while allowing peaceful protesters the platform to have their voices’ heard.
Said Cuomo: “The curfew is not about protesters. Most of the protesters have been peaceful and non-violent.
"The curfew is not to harass law-abiding citizens, it’s designed to help police deal with the looters.”
During his briefing, Cuomo noted that 13,000 members of the state’s National Guard and police force are on hand for any New York community that needs them to help counter looting and other criminal activity, though de Blasio has rebuffed the offer, the governor said.
“The NYPD and mayor did not do their job last night,” Cuomo said. “I believe the mayor underestimates the scope of this problem or the duration of this problem. I don’t think they’ve used enough police to address the situation, because it's inarguable that it was not addressed last night.
De Blasio responded, saying: “We do not need the National Guard to come into New York City. When outside armed forces come into communities, especially these intense situations they have not been trained for, that’s a dangerous scenario. We have 36,000 police officers who will keep this city safe.
“Yesterday, we had a lot of trouble in some parts of the city,” he added. “I was in the Bronx last night. What I saw doesn’t represent the people of the Bronx. We saw a criminal few try to tear down the progress that people fought for over decades. It doesn’t represent the people of this city.”
Later Tuesday afternoon, Cuomo's senior adviser, Richard Azzopardi, issued a statement saying:
"The governor has always said he has respect and confidence in the NYPD and he knows they can handle this situation because he has seen them do it in the past.
"It's not the men and women of the NYPD - he questions the management and deployment of the NYPD and believes the mayor should put more NYPD officers on the streets to do their job.
"There are 36,000 police officers - why isn't at least half the force on the streets protecting public safety with looting going on across the city?"
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