During an interview with Albany’s WAMC Radio Monday afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo said there will be a curfew in New York City in response to four days of protests over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Some of those protests have led to pitched scuffles between police and demonstrators, instances of police using excessive force, and also instances of protesters setting fires and looting stores.
The curfew will begin at 11 p.m. tonight and continue until 5 a.m. Tuesday morning. The governor did not indicate if the curfew will continue beyond Monday.
Cuomo also announced that there will be an increased police presence in the city, with the number of NYPD officers on the streets tonight to double from 4,000 to 8,000.
Governor, mayor say violence is stepping on protesters’ anti-racist message
“I stand behind the protestors and their message, but unfortunately there are people who are looking to distract and discredit this moment,” Cuomo said. “The violence and the looting has been bad for the city, the state, and this entire national movement, undermining and distracting from this righteous cause. While we encourage people to protest peacefully and make their voices heard, the safety of the general public is paramount and cannot be compromised.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio said that while demonstrations have been “generally peaceful,” the incidents of violence that have accompanied them are undermining “the message of the moment.”
“It is too important and the message must be heard,” the mayor said. “Tonight, to protect against violence and property damage, the governor and I have decided to implement a citywide curfew.”
De Blasio then acknowledged that police misconduct has contributed to the problems encountered over the past several nights.
“The police commissioner and I have spoken at length about the incidents we’ve all seen in recent days where officers didn’t uphold the values of this city or the NYPD,” he said. “We agree on the need for swift action.”
Two out gay members of the City Council, Speaker Corey Johnson and the Bronx’s Ritchie Torres are demanding an independent investigation into police conduct during the weekend’s protest, rejecting de Blasio’s call for his own Corporation Counsel’s Office to lead any inquiry. On Twitter, Torres cited examples of viral videos showing police abuse and wrote, “‘Appropriate’ actions according to our tone-deaf Mayor.”
Additional reporting by Matt Tracy.