New York City will have a curfew tonight from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. after weekend protests of the death of George Floyd led to looting and violence in the most populous U.S. city.
The police department will have 8,000 officers out tonight, doubling its presence in areas where there was violent property damage, according to a jointstatement from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The curfew will be for one night, Cuomo said on WAMC radio. “Tomorrow night, we’ll see.”
Earlier today, Cuomo said he would be speaking to de Blasio about the possibility of a curfew. Violent activity by protesters “obscures the righteousness of the message,” Cuomo said Monday at a press briefing. “It plays into the hands of people and forces who don’t want to make changes.”
At his own briefing earlier, de Blasio said a curfew was anoption, but was not planned for tonight.
“We can’t let violence undermine the message of this moment,” de Blasio said in the joint statement. “We agree on the need for swift action.”
Over the weekend, the mayor had said police who drove into a crowd of demonstrators were wrong, but that the protesters had created conditions for the incident. On Monday, he said it is “not acceptable ever” to drive a police vehicle into a crowd, and the matter is under investigation.
Cities across the U.S. were the scene of weekend protests over years of incidents between white police officers and black residents. The case of Floyd, a Minneapolis black man who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes, is just one of dozens that have happened in the U.S., Cuomo said. He cited the 2014 case in New York of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died after he was placed in a prohibited chokehold by a white police officer. The officer was fired in 2019.
“Use this moment to galvanize public support,” the governor said. “Use that outrage to actually make a change.”
The protests are happening as New York City prepares to reopen on June 8, after weeks of lockdown from the virus outbreak. Public officials have expressed concern that the protests could spark fresh Covid-19 outbreaks, but Cuomo said the state won’t know for weeks if they do.
“We have to be smart tonight in this city,” the governor said. “This is not helping end coronavirus.”
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