New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is considering invoking his statutory power to remove New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio based on the NYPD’s failure to curb the looting and destruction that has ravaged the city in the days following the killing of George Floyd.
As has occurred in other cities throughout the country, the peaceful protests in New York have been infiltrated by bad actors intent on violence and chaos.
“I am disappointed and outraged by what happened in New York City last night,” said Cuomo. “The police in New York City were not effective at doing their job last night. Period. They have to do a better job.”
Tuesday night was particularly nasty, with thousands of NYC residents violating an 8 pm curfew and ignoring social distancing requirements to participate in demonstrations. Looters and rioters physically assaulted police officers, punching and kicking them and throwing objects including rocks, bottles, a vacuum, and a moped.
At least one cop was run over by a vehicle. A protestor in the Bronx was shot by police after he opened fire on the crowd.
Hours after the carnage, de Blasio described the bad actors as “an infinitesimal percentage compared to the…protestors who have been peaceful.”
Governor Cuomo has state police and 13,000 members of the National Guard on standby after being urged to do so by President Trump. “I believe the mayor underestimates the scope of the problem,” said Cuomo. “I believe he underestimates the duration of the problem and I don’t think they used enough police to address the situation.”
Appealing to New York residents during a news conference on Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio begged community and religious leaders to do something to help stop the destruction and violence and rejected the idea that sending troops into the streets would help.
“Someone needs a history lesson,” he said. “When outside armed forces go into communities, no good comes of it.”
Not surprisingly, the NYPD continues to support de Blasio (keep in mind de Blasio has increased the NYPD’s funding by $1 billion since taking office).
“I can tell you definitely that he has the backs of the men and women of this police department,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. “It is an extremely difficult time. You heard him on the news and you may have heard his comments denouncing the actions of those attacking the cops. And again, what we need is probably less press conferences by many people and more support and more coming out and making difficult decisions that may not be the most popular.”
In the meantime, NYC’s City Council is preparing to vote on legislation that would ban police from using chokeholds. Mayor de Blasio says he will support the measure as long as it allows police to use chokeholds in life-or-death situations. A similar bill, backed by Joe Biden, is being considered in Congress.
Mayor de Blasio has encouraged protestors to stay home to avoid reigniting COVID-19 and has promised that police reform efforts are already underway. The 8 pm curfew will remain in effect through Sunday, with the city set to begin its Phase One reopening on Monday.
Author’s Note: Mayor de Blasio really screwed up this time. He should have used his emergency powers to suspend the ‘no bail money required’ so that extremists arrested during the protests would remain in jail for a few days. Instead, they are released and free to continue disrupting peaceful protests. We can expect de Blasio to resign or be removed from office soon.