NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There are more questions over the citywide curfew Friday.
The mayor insists it is working, but many think it is making things worse.
Mayor Bill de Blasio says he’s constantly evaluating things, but that the curfew remains in place from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and it will stay that way until Monday morning.
Thursday, demonstrators at a memorial in Brooklyn for George Floyd turned their backs on the mayor, and booed and yelled about the curfew. Protesters marched on well past 8 p.m.
“If it’s past curfew, it’s past curfew. I’m willing to take the risk,” one demonstrator said.
A curfew was put in place after arson, looting and violence directed toward police officers earlier in the week. But with many of the protests happening at night time peacefully, there are calls to drop the curfew, like other cities have, to avoid clashes with police.
“If you impose an 8 o’clock curfew, you’re instructing people to go out and march nonviolently. So this strategy has the clear function of amplifying conflict,” said Councilman Brad Lander.
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“Anyone who would say ‘Is it more harm than good?’ I would say no. We’ve had three really good nights after two really bad nights, de Blasio said.
He said “the broad goals” of the curfew had been achieved, so far: Ending property destruction and restoring peace.
“The last three nights, I think, have shown obviously a very marked improvement, compared to those very two troubling nights before that came out of nowhere and were absolutely unacceptable,” he said.
“Curfew is a local decision made by mayors across the state I support their decisions,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
Cuomo was asked whether curfews should be canceled following reports of excessive force in New York City and Buffalo.
“The police need to protect the demonstrators, they need to protect public safety, but they need to deal with the looters,” Cuomo said. “What looting is – is people exploiting the fact that police are busy. ‘Oh police are busy, we can now go loot, because the police are busy with the protesters.’ The curfews are designed to let the police be in a position where they can stop the looting, and that has been a serious problem in many cities.”
“I announced the curfew with Mayor de Blasio in New York City after a night of looting and craziness at 11 o’clock,” he said. “The mayor then revised the curfew to 8 o’clock and extended it, which I had nothing to do with.”
Cuomo said he supports de Blasio’s decisions, saying things have gotten better.
“I think the looting and the rampant criminality was much worse. The situation we were in in New York City, which spurred the curfew, was much worse,” he said. “What we have seen over the past couple of days is better in New York City – better.”
New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams points out there were officers hit by cars and attacked, but he’s also witnessed clashes between peaceful protesters and police.
“Why do you have these folks pinned back when they just want to walk? Just allow them to walk. Why’re you subjecting police officers to stand there for 2-3 hours and curses coming at them,” Williams said.
Some claim peaceful protesters were attacked by police last night in Mott Haven.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea says the NYPD recovered weapons, pointing to some bad actors looking to take advantage.
“Some of these assemblages are advertising ‘This is peaceful.’ Some of them actually go the other direction and say ‘This is not going to be a peaceful protest. If you’re peaceful, don’t come.’ That’s exactly what was billed and advertised at 149th Street yesterday,” Shea said. “They put out posters advertising that they were going to burn things down. That they were going to injure cops. That they were going to cause mayhem. That was the plan. We disrupted the plan. There could have been some innocent people caught up in it.”
Shea said part of those “outside agitators” are “the same that thought it was good idea in January to destroy the New York City transit system. And they told us what they were going to do, and we intercepted them literally… as they were bringing a gun and gasoline and weapons to the scene of that. That’s actually what happened.”
When it comes to arrests in New York City this week:
- Monday – 700
- Tuesday – 200
- Wednesday – 180
- Thursday – 270
Officials urge all to use common sense when out.
“The police officers know that they’re being videotaped. They know it. The protesters know that they’re being videotaped. So they all know that there’s going to be total accountability,” Cuomo said.
Essential workers are exempt from the curfew.
The mayor promised that change will come to New York City and the NYPD.
“You will see change in this city. You will see change in the NYPD. We simply have not gone far enough. The status quo is still broken, it must change,” de Blasio said. “This will be the work for the next year and a half of this administration: To make more change, to make it urgently, to make it powerfully, to make it clear. And that work will proceed immediately. And you will see those results and you will judge for yourself, as all New Yorkers do.”
The mayor said there are adjustments that continue to need to be made to NYPD response to peaceful protests, but praised the “overall restraint levels.”
“We need that respect. Respect that restraint,” de Blasio said.
The mayor there have been occasional instances of police behavior that needs to be reviewed.
“Each night we see – certainly several – situations that raise real questions. Individual instances where our officers have taken action that raises a valid concern. In each and every case, there must be a full investigation, and where discipline is warranted, it needs to be speedy,” the mayor said. “The vast, vast majority of officers do their job, do it right. But when someone does something wrong, as in all of our society, there must be consequences. Commissioner Shea made it clear yesterday, disciplinary action is about to be announced, some will include suspensions of officers. There’s a lot going on.”
The mayor said “stop and frisk was a horrible stain on this city,” saying it “devalued” young men of color across the city.
“That was broken. We’ve fixed that,” he said.