“Last night was a long and ugly night all across this nation, as we know,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
Cuomo said the protests were entirely about systemic racism that pervades American life, but “violence never works.”
The governor said that damaging small businesses that are trying to be a part of restarting the economy in the very communities that the protests are in is counterproductive.
WATCH: Gov. Andrew Cuomo Discusses Protests Over George Floyd’s Death During Daily Briefing
“It dishonors Mr. Floyd’s death. Mr. Floyd was not violent. Mr. Floyd was compliant. Mr. Floyd wasn’t even charged or accused of a violent crime. There was no violence. That’s what makes the killing more outrageous. When you are violent it creates a scapegoat to shift the blame. It allows the president of the United States to tweet about looting rather than murder by a police officer,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo said the protests are “very difficult situations to manage. The police are in an impossible situations in many ways.”
Cuomo said some videos are “truly disturbing” and some of them are “inexplicable.”
The governor said both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Dermot Shea both understand “there will be ramifications” if the AG’s investigation determines there was improper police conduct.
“The people deserve answers and accountability,” he said.
Cuomo said he has the National Guard and state police on standby, and that state police had helped cities upstate. Rochester is going to get 200 state troopers sent to it tonight, and 150 troopers will be deployed to Buffalo.
The governor is also calling on a number of changes to procedures involving police departments, including having a “standardized misconduct policy.”
“Demand that we define excessive force by a police officer by one standard all across this nation, so every American lives by the same standard. If a police officer is accused of wrongdoing and is being investigated, release their disciplinary records so people can see what the prior acts of that police officer was,” Cuomo said.
The governor is referring to a law known as 50-A, which shields police records.
Both Cuomo and de Blasio believe reforming the law would help restore the public’s trust. They face strong opposition from officers unions, who cite privacy and safety concerns.