BY EMILY DAVENPORT
During his daily coronavirus briefing, Governor Andrew Cuomo reiterated that the line between the protesters and the looters must not be blurred.
Protests continued across New York State on June 2. While Cuomo noted that the protests were more peaceful, particularly in New York City, the situation between the protesters and the looters must be addressed as different situations. The protesters, according to Cuomo, have righteous indignation and he still stands with them.
“The protesting is righteous indignation over Mr. Floyd’s murder and systemic racism and injustice,” said Cuomo. “You listen to their point, I think they’re right. You look at Mr. Floyd’s death on television and it is reprehensible. There is no police officer in this nation that would defend that.”
Looting, on the other hand, is criminal activity and has no righteousness behind it, Cuomo said.
“These are opportunists who see the police are busy dealing with the protesters, and they say ‘well here’s an opportunity to loot and to steal and to cause mayhem’,” said Cuomo. “That’s all they are. This is criminal behavior, period.”
Cuomo told protesters that they should be non-violent because it will help critics lump the protesters in with the looting and the narrative that the protests are violent.
“When you are violent, you lost the righteous indignation,” said Cuomo. “When you are violent, you play to the critics who want to say, ‘Oh they are violent looters, they are all a criminal element,’ and that actually defeats the righteousness of the message.”
Cuomo then stated that the police must be empowered to stop the looting, keep order and stop any criminal activity, and also distinguish between the looters and the protesters.
“Yes, you have police action which is necessary to work with the protesters, but the police have to be there and be empowered to stop the looting and the chaos and the criminal behavior that people are trying to exploit moment for their own selfish purposes,” said Cuomo.
When asked about a conversation that Cuomo reportedly had with NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan to apologize for his comments he made during the previous day’s briefing, Cuomo clarified that he actually spoke to Police Commissioner Shea and reiterated his points he made on Tuesday.
“I spoke to the police commissioner and said the same things that I said to you and that I said yesterday,” said Cuomo. “It’s an issue of management and deployment. The actual police officers are the best. My issue was with the management and deployment, never about the police officers.”
In coronavirus news, Cuomo noted that New York’s hospitalizations, intubations and new cases are continuing to decrease. However, Cuomo reminded everyone that if you are going to protest, be smart about it and wear a mask.
“If you’re going to protest, protest intelligently,” said Cuomo. “Remember the COVID virus is still out there.”
Giving my daily press briefing now. Watch Live: https://t.co/kMW1zpKS73
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) June 3, 2020
This story first appeared on amny.com.