ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - Following Saturday night’s destruction and violence seen in cities across New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo has placed the N.Y. National Guard on the ready, and is sending additional State Police Troopers to areas experiencing heightened tensions.
He’s also urging people to stay calm.
“Burning your own house down never works, and never makes sense," Cuomo said.
In New York, Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, and elsewhere, what started as peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis escalated overnight, leading to the destruction of public and private property, and clashes with police.
A state of emergency has been declared in Syracuse, along with with a curfew that begins at 8 p.m. tonight and lasts until 7 o’clock Monday morning. WSYR-TV reports downtown businesses were damaged Saturday night, and fewer than ten people were arrested.
Sunday, Governor Cuomo said he’s ordering Attorney General Letitia James to investigate the police response to unrest in New York City. Video of a police cruiser driving into a crowd of protesters went viral overnight. Cuomo called the video, “truly disturbing.” Meanwhile, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has responded, saying the protesters were the ones who were in the wrong.
State officials are preparing for what’s expected to be another night of unrest. 200 additional State Police Troopers are headed to Rochester, along with 150 to Buffalo. The Governor says officials in Syracuse and Albany are determining how much more help they’ll need.
Cuomo is also calling on state and federal lawmakers to come up with a plan to better hold police officers accused of wrongdoing accountable. George Floyd died last week when Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinned him to the ground, with his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes. The incident started with a report of a phony $20 bill. Chauvin has been arrested and charged with 3rd degree murder.
The death has sparked outrage nationwide. Sunday, Cuomo said people need to channel their emotions away from violence, and toward making constructive change.
“Be frustrated,” Cuomo said. “But be smart.”
“Help your community, don’t hurt your community.”