As protests continue throughout New York over the murder of George Floyd, Governor Andrew Cuomo is stating that they are not an issue of public safety or civil rights, but both.
During his daily briefing, Cuomo compared the ongoing situation between the protesters and police force to the coronavirus pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, Cuomo stated that it was never an issue of the economy or public health, rather it was about both. For this situation, Cuomo says it’s about public safety and civil rights, and protecting the police and protecting the protesters at the same time.
“These are false choices, we need both,” said Cuomo. “Even in this hysterical moment. You need to be able to hold two truths in your hands at the same time.”
Still, it is clear to Cuomo that the police abuse must stop. Cuomo stated that New York will continue to step up in being the leading progressive capital of the country by putting forth the “Say Their Name” Reform Agenda, which is expected to pass next week. Named for those who have been victims who had been killed by police officers, the agenda has four main cornerstones:
- Transparency of prior disciplinary records for officers who are being charged and investigated for abuse
- Chokeholds would be banned
- False race-based 911 calls should be classified as a hate crime
- The Attorney General will act as an independent prosecutor for police murders.
Cuomo stressed that healing the police will help not just the police force but the community as well.
“Reform works for everyone’s interest here. Stopping police abuse vindicates the overwhelming majority of police who are there to do the right thing and do the right thing every day,” said Cuomo. “It restores the confidence, the respect and the trust that you need to make this relationship work.”
After video surfaced of two officers in Buffalo pushing an elderly man to the ground and walking away as he bled from his ear, many took to social media express their outrage over the situation. Cuomo applauded Buffalo mayor Byron Brown for immediately suspending the two officers involved.
“You see that video and it disturbs your basic sense of decency and humanity. Why was that necessary?” said Cuomo. “Where was the threat? It’s just fundamentally offensive and frightening. Who are we, how did we get to this place? Incidents of pushing the press, incidents of police getting hit with bricks in the head. And these are undeniable situations.”
However, Cuomo did not directly address the reports of over-policing in New York City, such as the food delivery man getting arrested or journalists getting harassed by a cop for reporting past curfew.
This story originally appeared on amny.com.