By Mark Hallum
Buttressing the pressure of his argument against all other factors he believes makes New York a destination during the time of COVID-19, Governor Andrew Cuomo blasted the city for the ongoing crime wave that has amounted to a 103% spike in shootings with victims.
Cuomo emphasized New York exceptionalism all around in his morning press conference Thursday, coyly letting the de Blasio Administration know that there is still an April deadline for submitting a plan to address police violence against communities of color while railing against the crime wave that has come into the national radar and drawn criticism from President Donald Trump.
“For any state that could be the first COVID free state, how about the state that can say our population is vaccinated… What are the advantages of that state in terms of public confidence, economic development, etcetera? You feel now the advantages that New York has to having a lower infection rate? People want to come here, they feel safer here,” Cuomo said. “New York City, shootings with victims up 103%… Everybody gets the sense that crime is worse and the city’s not as safe at the same time that we’re trying to bring New York City back from COVID.”
According to Cuomo, 146 jurisdictions have begun planning police reform as per the governor’s order which could see the state withholding state funds from municipalities.
The firm reminder for Mayor Bill de Blasio – or anyone in city government – to “step up and lead” comes a day following what activists viewed as a cosmetic breakthrough in the murder of Breonna Taylor in which Louisville, Ky. prosecutors charged one of the officers involved in her death with wanton endangerment. Another round of protests across the country became the result of this action with New York City being no exception.
“You have the executive order saying you have to come up with a plan, step up and lead; 146 jurisdictions are doing it, why isn’t New York City doing it? The mayor can lead it, the city council president could lead it, the comptroller could lead it, public advocate could lead it. If none of them can do it, I will find someone to lead it,” Cuomo warned. “On behalf of everybody who lives in New York City, it’s wholly unacceptable. It’s not who we are and it’s not what we do. We didn’t run from COVID… We have a problem in New York City when it comes to crime, that is a fact.”
The executive order issued in June came after weeks of civil unrest, especially in New York City where rioting and looking was rampant following the murder of George Floyd in late May. Cuomo issued yet another warning in August as the crime rate continued to climb with murders up 29%, and shootings, up 79% year-to-date at the time.
According to Cuomo, discussion topics for police reform should:
- Review the needs of the community served by its police agency, and evaluate the department’s current policies and practices.
- Establish policies that allow police to effectively and safely perform their duties.
- Involve the entire community in the discussion.
- Develop policy recommendations resulting from this review.
- Offer a plan for public comment.
- Present the plan to the local legislative body to ratify or adopt it.
- Certify adoption of the plan to the State Budget Director on or before April 1, 2021.