May 31, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Cuomo asks New York attorney general to review police conduct during protests

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Sunday that he has asked the state's attorney general to review the New York Police Department's conduct during protests over the death of George Floyd.

Why it matters: Several videos of protests over the weekend showed NYPD officers pushing protestors, driving SUVs through crowds and more. While some of the confrontations were instigated by the protestors, Cuomo said that allegations of misconduct by police officers should be fully investigated.

  • "If there's an allegation of police abuse, the local district attorney should not be the investigating authority. Why? Because self-policing doesn't work," he added.

Cuomo also called at his press conference on Sunday for the release of prior disciplinary records of any officer under investigation for misconduct "to see if there's a pattern."

  • Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder for Floyd's death, had 18 prior complaints against him, per CNN.
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio defended the NYPD on Sunday, calling it "inappropriate for protestors to surround a police vehicle and threaten police officers."
  • NYPD commissioner Dermot Shea also said in a statement Sunday that he was "extremely proud" of his officers' conduct, calling violent protestors "a mob bent solely on taking advantage of a moment in American history."

The big picture: Cuomo has been a leading voice in the response to the coronavirus pandemic, with New York being the hardest-hit state in America. Black and brown residents of New York were hit the hardest.

  • "It's not a coincidence the unrest happens in the middle of the pandemic," Cuomo said. "Those are not separate situations. There's tremendous stress on everyone. This isolation of people, the lack of social interaction has created a lot of mental health stress. I think that's true and that's a fact."
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