Jun 4, 2020
NY Governor Andrew Cuomo June 4 Press Conference Transcript
Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo held a press briefing on Wednesday, June 4. Cuomo says George Floyd protesters should assume they’ve been exposed to coronavirus. Read the full transcript here.
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Governor Andrew Cuomo: (04:10)
Good morning. To my right, we have Major West of the state police. To my left, Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor. To her left Robert Mojica, Budget Director of the state of New York.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (04:23)
Today is Day 96 dealing with the historic COVID-19 crisis. It’s Day 11 of the aftermath of the murder of Mr. Floyd, and the unrest and protests that has then they’re from. As I said yesterday, dealing with the coronavirus in and of itself was the greatest challenge that government and society has had in modern day. You put on top of that the situation with the murder of Mr. Floyd and the unrest afterwards, those two compound each other. You then wrap it in this hyper-partisan, hyper-political period of time. We’re in the middle of an election year. A heated election year, so everything becomes political. You add the issue of race on top of that. It is as dangerous a time as I have ever experienced. Keep the issues separate, stay smart, and be honest.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (05:38)
With the issue of the protestors, I share the outrage over not just Mr. Floyd’s murder, but what it represents: One in a long string of criminal injustices. It is a metaphor for the systemic racism and injustice that we have seen. I stand with the protestors in the point that we need meaningful reform. I also believe that change, although often necessary, is very hard to effectuate in society. We all say, “Change, change, change,” but the truth is the status quo has tremendous energy; and it’s very hard to change the status quo. It’s very hard to bring about meaningful change. It only happens when the people get fully-mobilized and informed and demand change, and that’s when you see change. That was the labor rights reforms after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire, that was the environmental movement after the Storm King situation, that was the rebirth of the economy after The Great Depression. I believe this is a moment for national change and national reform. I think it can be a positive moment for this country, but it has to be done intelligently.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (07:10)
When you look at the two main crises that we’re dealing with, the Mr. Floyd murder aftermath and COVID-19, on the protests, post Mr. Floyd’s murder, we had additional protests all across the state last night. We had them in basically all of the cities. The largest activity: Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, New York City.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (07:37)
I want to thank the protesters who were mainly peaceful, which was smart because then they could make their point. There are a lot of political forces that want to say, “Well, these protesters are just rabble-rousers, they’re just criminals.” They’re not. They’re young people. They’re racially diverse, They’re white people. They’re African- American people. They’re Latinos. They’re just young people who represent a cross-section of America who want change.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (08:08)
There was also looting going on, and some people would like to say, “The protesters are the looters.” No, no, they’re not. They’re very, very different. You have to keep them separate.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (08:17)
I want to thank the protesters who protested peacefully to make their point and defy or frustrate the political forces that would like to say these protests are all criminals. No. They’re people who want change and reform, and they’re right. We have to keep the two separate, and the protestors have to help us keep the two separate. And they did.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (08:45)
New York City was mainly peaceful. There were a number of arrests and there were a number of police officers who were hurt. One police officer was stabbed in the neck. Two police officers had gunshot wounds, I believe both to their hands. That is intolerable. The police are doing an impossible job. They’re trying to deal with the protestors, they’re trying to stop looting, and they’re trying to keep themselves safe because the police want to go home to their families. There is no tolerance for violence against a police officer. Period. In any part of this state. Period.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (09:36)
I also want to reinforce to the New York City district attorneys, you have scenes of looting that are on videotape that are indefensible and inexcusable. Looting is criminal activity, number one. Looting now is exploiting this situation with the protests. They know that the police are going to be busy with the protesters. They’re then using that as an opportunity to loot, and that is inexcusable. To the New York City district attorneys, you look at these videos, it would be non-nonsensical if the police were arresting looters and they were then being arrested and returned to the street the next day to loot again. That would be nonsensical, right? The district attorneys charge crimes. I’m a former assistant district attorney. You look at these videos, burglary two can be burglary with a dangerous instrument, like a pipe, like a crowbar, like a rock, like a brick. But if you have looters who are using rocks, breaking windows, stealing, these people should be charged for the crime that they are committing and bail set. Right? I understand the political environment. I also understand that the law is the law and they should charge crimes appropriately.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (11:37)
On the COVID-19 front, good news. Continued good news. Total number of hospitalizations are down. Number of lives lost, 52, a little bit higher than yesterday, but this is all within the statistically, these are irrelevant differences. I don’t believe the system is this statistically accurate. We’re seeing a continued decline there, although obviously 52 lives lost are 52 too many, but we see that overall movement is still in a positive direction.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (12:21)
A few more facts so people understand exactly where we are and how far we’ve come. The testing is the most immediate data on where you are. Testing is, you test the people yesterday and you know how many people tested positive yesterday. Okay? We do about 50,000 tests per day. Is that a lot or a little? It’s more than any state per capita. It’s more than any country per capita. One day we’ll talk about how New York was able to ramp up their testing to be the testing capital of the world, but-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (13:03)
… to be the testing capital of the world. But, 50,000 tests per day. That is an immediate snapshot of where you are. 50,000 tests yesterday. Long Island 2% test positive, New York City 2% test positive, Western New York 2% test positive, Capital Region 1% test positive. Okay. Which is remarkable in many ways. It’s remarkable in comparison to the other. If you remember New York City was much higher than Upstate New York. And now you see Long Island, New York City, Western New York, all about the same, Capital District still raised a little lower. But again these numbers when you get that close, I wouldn’t rely on them. But look at how far we’ve come. Long Island was 2% yesterday. Two weeks ago it was 4% double that.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (14:02)
I’m sorry. Two weeks ago it was 4% double that. Four weeks ago, one month it was 11%. Six weeks ago it was 20%. We went from 20% to 2% in six weeks. “Well, what difference does this socially distance, make masks, make… I think it’s all a bunch of malarkey.” Oh really? Then you tell me how those numbers dropped like that. Everything we have done is smart and is working. And it’s in the numbers. It’s not my opinion. It’s not my theory. It’s not because I’m from New York. It’s not because I’m a Democrat. It’s in the numbers. New York City was 26% six weeks ago, 2% today. Western New York, 15% down to 2%. Capital District, 12% six weeks ago. Six weeks ago it was like yesterday. So we’re making great progress. But, as fast as these numbers came down, is as fast as these numbers can go up.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (15:11)
As fast as these numbers come down, is as fast as those numbers go up. I was speaking to somebody this morning who used a bizarre metaphor. “I lost five pounds over the past 10 days. Yay.” Okay. You lose discipline, and you go back to your old eating habits and non-exercise habit, you’ll put those five pounds right back on over the next 10 days. It came off, it’ll go right back on. It is a tortured analogy for this situation. This is all a function of our behavior. Nothing more, nothing less. On the reopening, reopen with caution. Why? Because we’ve seen too many examples of reopening where they didn’t do it right and it boomeranged, period. You look at the states that opened fast without metrics, without guardrails, it’s a boomerang. And it’s not just one or two states as an example. North Carolina, look at these numbers of these other states. Look at when they opened, and look at the line after they reopened. North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Arizona. Look at those numbers.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (16:38)
This happens in New York with our density, we go right back to where we were. And it’s not the exception, it’s almost the rule. California, you look at them reopening, and then look at the curve after the reopening. California, Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, Utah. What am I worried about? I’m worried about that. Why? Because it happens quite often. As a matter of fact, it probably happens more times than not. And if we’re not smart, that’s what’s going to happen here. Sweden had a different policy. Sweden didn’t do the full close down. They did a limited close down. And everybody said, “Oh well, why don’t we do what Sweden did?” That’s why we’re not Sweden. And who knows that what Sweden is doing is actually right. The lead person for Sweden who came up with the plan, “We don’t have to close down,” now says, “Oops! Maybe we should have closed down.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (17:58)
More people died than had to die. Even the countries that did it right and then reopened, see this second wave, this second spike where the numbers go up again. So, I’m not a nervous Nellie, I just read the numbers. With the protesters, they could actually compound this situation. Why? You have 30, 000 people who have been protesting statewide. You look at the video as far as well as I look at the video. Many of them wear masks, thank God. But there’s no social distancing. You look at the encounters with the police. The police are right in their face, they’re right in the face of the police. 20,000 protestors in New York City, thousand protesters on Long Island. These are big numbers. And yes, they’re young people and they’re superheroes and nothing can affect me. We’re going to open the testing facilities for all people who were at a protest.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (19:08)
The super-spreader, all these new terms. Super-spreader. What’s a super-spreader? Super-spreader is what happened to us in New Rochelle, Westchester where we had the first hotspot, new term, in the United States of America. One person, one person can infect hundreds. If you were at a protest, go get a test please. The protesters have a civic duty here also. Be responsible, get a test, go to the website, find out the testing site nearest you. We have 700 in this state. You can get a test, get a test. Also allow the police to do their job when you’re protesting. The reason the peaceful protest is so important, not just so you don’t get categorized, stereotyped as criminals, but so the police can actually focus on their job which is stopping the looting. Wear a mask and tell people that you may have been exposed to COVID. If you were at one of those protests, I would out of an abundance of caution, assume that you were infected.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (20:23)
And tell people… When you go home, tell your parents, tell your sister, tell your brother who may not be 25 years old and consider themselves a superhero. Tell people, “I may have been exposed.” And act like you may have been exposed. Because by the way, you may have been exposed. And you’re not worried about yourself, that’s a different conversation. Worry about your 55 year old grandfather or your 62 year old grandmother, or your 60 year old parent or uncle or aunt. They can die from this virus. And by the way, you could too, but that’s a separate conversation. Also, there’s a lag in the numbers remember. Somebody goes to a protest last night, they get infected. You don’t find out today. You don’t find out tomorrow. You don’t find out the next day. It can be four or five days until any symptoms show, symptoms may never show, right? Asymptomatic transfer. And if you’re really seriously ill, they may be in a hospital eight to 12 days. Eight to 12 days is a long time when we’re measuring day to day to decide what to do. You saw the difference in the numbers, two weeks is a lifetime in the numbers. So, if [inaudible 00:21:54] had a viral spread through these protests, we’re not going to see it in the numbers for a while. And in the meantime, we’re making all these decisions on reopening. So it’s important that people act responsibly for themselves. You went to a protest, get a test, tell people, act as if you may have been exposed.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (22:18)
New York City enters phase one Monday with all of this going on. New York City had the highest number of protestors. We have to be smart. The protesters themselves could wind up causing a spike. So we have to be smart. The businesses that were looted. And look, the other reason why I’m saying to the district attorneys, they should take these looters and punish them for what they did. Many of the businesses they looted were mom-and-pop businesses in distressed communities that were struggling in the first place. In New York City, Rochester, many of these businesses were essential businesses for the poorest communities in those locales. And they looted mom-and-pop stores that don’t have the resources to rebuild and reopen.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (23:19)
So we’re going to do everything that we can do to help them. Department of Financial Services, DFS regulates insurance industry. They’re going to direct insurers to expedite all claims for all looted businesses, free mediation services, to accept photos as proof. If a looted business has trouble with their insurance company, go to the Department of Financial Services the website, and they will provide relief. Because the numbers today are good, we’re going to act on the data that we have. We’re going to go to outdoor dining as part of phase two. And that affects all the communities that are already in phase two. And there are a number that are about to enter phase two. Westchester, Rockland, Hudson Valley go next Tuesday. Long Island goes next Wednesday.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (24:14)
Remember what outdoor dining is. It is outdoors. That’s why it’s called outdoor dining. I know you have a lot of restaurants that want to open, this doesn’t say restaurants open. The enclosed spaces are an issue. Outdoor dining, there’s no roof, there could be a canopy, but it is outdoor space. It’s open air space. The wind is blowing, there’s ventilation, it’s open air space. You still six feet apart. Wear face coverings. And is points in the guidelines that are online. But, I want to stress this is outdoor dining space. It’s not a restaurant with the doors open. It is outdoor dining space.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (25:03)
School year is coming to an end. I know a lot of graduates are disappointed. We’re going to allow drive-in and drive-through student graduations. We’re going to keep evaluating. I get this on a personal level. My Michaela graduated college… Was supposed to graduate college this year. But she did graduate college this year. She just didn’t have the ceremony. And she worked so hard, and it’s one of those real moments in life going to a college graduation or a high school graduation. So not to have a graduation is painful. I get it. As soon as we can do it, we will. If there’s a way drive-ins or drive-throughs can be helpful, I hope that makes a difference in the meantime. I talked to Michaela about it. Look, “This is just a bizarre time. It’s a time they’ll write about in the history books for years to come. They’ll talk about for years to come.” I’ve said all along…
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (26:03)
… Talk about for years to come. I’ve said all along, it’s also a time of reflection, value changing, you learn about yourself, you learn about your family, you learn about people. I said to Michaela, “What do you want for graduation?” Any other year, she would’ve said money. She just goes for the money, and then that allows her to get what she wants to get. So there’s certain logic to that. This year, she said to me, “I want something that means something to you.” I said, “What does that mean?” She said, “Well, I want something that just mean something to you.” I said, “How about I give you money and then you buy something that you think?” She said, “No, no, I want something that means something to you”. She would not have said that at any other time, but for this. I think it’s changed all of us. It’s given us all a different perspective. I’m going to give them Michaela my watch. It made me think, “What means something to me? What means something to me?” I’m going to give her my watch, it means something to me. It’s the best thing I have that my father gave me. My father gave me the watch when I was elected Attorney General, my father and mother. So I’ve had it for about 14 years, but it means something to me. She won’t be able to wear it, because it’s a man’s watch, maybe she can, but it means something to me. You know what? It’s a smarter gift, it’s a better gift. It means something to her, means something to me, and this whole period has brought us to a deeper place as a family, for my own family, and for myself. But, I get what it’s like not to have the graduation.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (28:07)
Today at two o’clock, we’ll have a moment of silence statewide in respect for Mr. Floyd and his murder and his family’s pain and grief and as a symbolic moment to say, “We understand what happened, we’re sorry, we grieve, and this is an injustice that should never happen again.” We’re going to act, we’re going to act in the State of New York. We’ll pass 50-a, which releases disciplinary records, but we stand in solidarity with the senselessness of his brutal murder. That is part of being New York. Tough, smart, united, disciplined, loving. It’s about being loving, loving one another.
Speaker 3: (29:02)
[crosstalk 00:29:02] Governor, last night we all saw videos of New York City-
Joe Spector: (29:05)
[crosstalk 00:29:05] Specific racism and changing policy, and overall having more honest conversation about race, is there an element of personal responsibility that’s being overlooked that should be addressed? For example, in Albany, we talked about underfunded schools, but truancy is also a significant problem, or police chief Eric Hawkins will tell you there’s a lot of conversation about over-policing in minority neighborhoods, but the calls for service are also disproportionately high there.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (29:32)
Look, there’s no doubt. Your expression “honest dialogue” was right. It has to be honest because these are complex topics. There is no one answer to this. We’re dealing with the issue of racism and discrimination that has been the continuing sin of this nation. We have never resolved it. Racism, discrimination existed before the nation existed. It goes back to the slavery debate, an issue in this country, right? Personal responsibility is also a part of it, no doubt, and that’s why it’s so hard to get at it. We’re accustomed to one answer, one solution, there’s just the one sentence that will answer everything. That’s not what this is. It is not what this is. The protestors and the police, what’s going on in New York City, who’s right, who’s wrong, it doesn’t work that way.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (30:39)
Protestors have a point. They looked at what Mr. Floyd did., they’re outraged. They’re right. Police have to do their job, they have to protect the public safety. They have to stop the looting, they have to do their job. People attack police officers. They attack police officers. You run up to a police officer, they stabbed a police officer yesterday. They’ve treated police officers with such disrespect in New York City that I am stunned. I’ve never seen that level of disrespect to a police officer. Now, I come from a different time and place, but a police officer, you wouldn’t dare disrespect a police officer. But, this is at a level that is just inappropriate, unconscionable, so it’s complicated. There is not going to be a simple answer.
Joe Spector: (31:33)
It seems like elected officials though, speaking of the honest dialogue, fear political consequences from both sides, no matter what the position is, because if you are of an opposing position to the other group, there is a label that’s placed on you. A lot of people fear that when it comes to having an honest conversation about where responsibility may lay.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (31:55)
Yeah, you are so right. You are so right, and that’s why I say, “Look, you have these issues going on, and then the overall dynamic, the electricity in the air, is this hyper-partisan, hyper-political, so when you try to be honest and nuanced, the other side uses it against you.” There’s this demonization, right? It’s because everything is black and white, you’re right you’re wrong, you’re with the protesters or you’re with the police, and it’s this divided… Everything’s divided. There are forces that try to divide, divide racially, divide politically, divide by sexual orientation, divide by the issue of choice, divide urban versus rural, northeast versus those are democratic states, those are blue states. Everything is divisive, so when you try to have an honest conversation, the politics can overwhelm it and it makes people afraid to have an honest conversation because they’re going to be attacked politically.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (33:04)
That’s why it was so important for me, at the beginning of this coronavirus situation, to take myself out of the politics. You know what? I’m going to tell you the truth. You want to attack me from the left, you want to attack me from the right, God bless you. But I’m out of the political business. I’m not running for president, I’m not running for anything, I’m not going to Washington. I am here as long as the people have me, I have no politics.
Joe Spector: (33:32)
What do you think-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (33:32)
I’m just going to tell the truth, but you’re right. It is a hyper-partisan, hyper-divided situation, and you’re trying to talk about a very sensitive, complex, nuanced topic in an environment where people are looking to take anything you say and use it against you. It is extraordinarily difficult in this totality to have this kind of open, honest, candid, frank discussion. [crosstalk 00:34:12].
Speaker 3: (34:09)
Governor, last night we all saw videos-
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (34:12)
Shh. Shh. Let’s do something, okay? We’re here, you don’t have to yell, my hearing still works. We’ll just do this in a semi-orderly way so we show people that New York can be a decent, safe, loving, united… Mr. Spector?
Joe Spector: (34:33)
Well, we’re New Yorkers, right?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (34:34)
Yes. Oh, I know that.
Joe Spector: (34:40)
Just want to follow up on that, how do you address that as a leader and as a state, this issue of racism that you’re seeing now has resulted in the situation that we’re in?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (34:47)
What was the first part?
Joe Spector: (34:48)
Well, just, how do you deal with that as a leader and as a state to try to address this divide that’s [inaudible 00:34:54]?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (34:57)
Joe, how did I deal with COVID? By the way, how did I deal with the issue of marriage equality? How did I deal with the issue of gun safety? How did I deal with the issue of minimum wage? I just tell people what I think, and I give them the facts first, here are the facts, here are the facts. Not democratic facts, not republican facts, just facts. You turn on a lot of these cable news, you have democratic facts and republican facts. You can’t have a democratic fact and you can’t have a republican fact. The fact is the fact, a number is a number. You can’t change it because you’re a Democrat or Republican. I give them the facts and then I tell them, “This is what I think.” I’m sort of in a political position. I represent Democrats, I represent Republicans, I represent Independents, I represent Conservatives, I represent Buffalo. I represent Manhattan. I don’t have that political tension to me. I’m not running in the democratic primary for president. I’m not running for anything.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (36:03)
I give you the facts, and then I tell you what’s honest. I tell you today, DAs should charge these looters. They should charge them with burglary two and they should be held and set bail. I believe that. The DAs… You attack a police officer, you hit a police officer with a brick in the head, if he wasn’t wearing a helmet, he’d probably be dead. Charge people criminally and hold them liable. Mr. Floyd gets killed by police officers. They committed murder, charge them with murder. Not because I’m a Democrat or Republican, but that’s how I see the facts. You want to disagree with me? Disagree with me. You want to agree with me? Agree with me. But, I separate the facts from the opinion, I give you the facts first, and then here’s my opinion based on those facts. If we have a disagreement as opinion, fine, that’s fine.
Speaker 3: (37:10)
Governor, at the same time, last night, we all saw videos of New York City police officers who are bludgeoning peaceful protesters in New York City with batons as they were enforcing the curfew, and these weren’t people who were resisting or putting up any fight. Is this what you wanted when you said the cops should do their job?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (37:26)
Do you think anyone would say… A question itself can be a little offensive. A police officer doing their job, do you think there’s any sensible police officer who believes their job is bludgeoning a peaceful person with a baton? See, it’s that kind of incendiary rhetoric that, it’s not a fact. It’s not a fact. It’s not even an opinion. That is a hyper-partisan rhetorical attack, police bludgeon peaceful protesters with batons for no reason. That’s not a fact, they don’t do that. Anyone who did do that would be obviously reprehensible, if not criminal.
Speaker 3: (38:26)
[crosstalk 00:38:26] Governor, I have two reopening questions. I hope you’ll answer both, ones on high school graduation and one is on childcare, which parents really want answers on. First of all, you said that you’ll only allow the drive-in and drive through graduations. We’ve been following this issue for a while, we’ve spoken with a lot of high school students, including one from Chalmette High School in Schenectady County, who is a part of a petition of 5,000 students that want in-person high school graduations with social distancing. He’s an immigrant from Pakistan, this means the world to his family. This is a moment they’ve been…
Speaker 3: (39:03)
From Pakistan. This means the world to his family. This is the moment they’ve been waiting for, the parents have been waiting their whole lives to see this moment of their child graduate. You’re allowing patios to open for outside dining, so why not allow high school graduation ceremonies with social distancing and allow these students to have that moment? I know you said your daughter’s in the same situation, but is there a way to make this happen for these families?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (39:35)
Did you hear anything that we’ve been talking about for the past 96 days?
Speaker 3: (39:44)
Yeah, but how do you justify opening a patio and not graduation?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (39:44)
What difference does it make? I don’t want to be difficult. It’s a Pakistani immigrant family that wants to have a graduation. I get it, it’s not really relevant that they’re from Pakistan, it’s not really relevant-
Speaker 3: (39:57)
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (39:58)
I know. I know, but that’s not the issue. The issue is a public health issue and you don’t want people sick and dead. That’s the issue, right? It’s about death, it’s about balancing the risk versus the reward, balancing the desires and wants versus the consequences. We went through new Rochelle Westchester. People went to a ceremony, they were having a celebration and a religious ceremony, beautiful, of course you should go. Yeah. People died, people died. So yeah I know everybody wants to go to a high school graduation, I get it. Not if they’re going to die. Okay.
Speaker 6: (40:55)
Are you asking prosecutors to on their own upcharges for looters?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (41:00)
Not upcharges Bernadette, charge appropriately.
Speaker 6: (41:03)
Charge appropriately, but right now burglary two only counts if you’re entering someone’s dwelling, not somebody’s store.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (41:14)
Charge appropriately, charge appropriately.
Speaker 6: (41:16)
So you’re giving them judicial discretion in this sense?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (41:18)
No, charge appropriately. Look at the facts, look at what they did and charge appropriately. That’s what I’m saying. Don’t feel there’s a political environment where I don’t want to charge because it’s not political to hold people accountable for crimes. The law is the law. The law, we have to be very careful at times of high political pressure that people still enforce the law as the law. Police enforce the law, police have to do their jobs, in a political environment or not. DA’s have to do their jobs, enforce the law. I’m not interested in a political enforcement of law. I’m interested in enforcing the law as the law.
Yeah. If I could. So Penal law, 140.25 subdivision one applies to stores, it applies directly to looting. I think what you’re referring to is the changes that we made in the budget that applies to dwellings, which actually aren’t even in effect until July 3rd because there was a 90 day lag. This has always been the law, it wasn’t changed in the budget. And it says that bail could be set if a person is A, carrying a dangerous instrument, which includes a rock, B, uses a rock brick or the like to break the window to gain entry or C, another participant acting with the defendant that did A or B, that is burglary two under Penal law, 140.25.
So I understand some of the district attorneys may feel uncomfortable charging that as Burg two, because traditionally they charge that as Burg three, but they have the tools available to them. And I think what the governor is saying is they should use that.
Speaker 7: (43:17)
So are they [inaudible 00:43:19] applying the law at this point?
Yes, they’re not using the tools that are available to them. This is the opinion of our counsel’s office, as well as the legislative council’s offices, which wrote the law.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (43:26)
Yeah, but there’s no incorrect, it’s not a blame. I know you want to pull who’s to blame. I’m not blaming anybody. Look at the facts, look at the law, enforce the law as the law, without political pressure.
Speaker 8: (43:49)
In terms of last night, [inaudible 00:43:51] the police did use batons and they did use physical crushers to try to disperse protestors, some protesters were injured. What do you make of those tactics? And is that appropriate for clearing a curfew?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (44:04)
Police have to enforce the law. If you’re violating the curfew and you refused to leave, so you continue to violate the curfew, the police officers have to enforce the law, which is you are supposed to be off the street.
Speaker 8: (44:24)
But the use of batons seems particularly violent particularly when all of these protests are about police brutality at its essence. So isn’t the use of batons and physical violence or force wrong?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (44:39)
I don’t know what you’re talking about with [inaudible 00:00:44:41]. But when you say use a Baton, what does that mean? Did they hit somebody with a Baton?
Speaker 8: (44:49)
That’s what a recording shows.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (44:51)
Your reporting says they hit somebody who didn’t do anything wrong? Well if they hit somebody, if somebody’s standing there and they just walked up to somebody and hit them with a baton, clearly that’s wrong. But I don’t believe that’s what happened. If they did do that, it’s wrong.
Speaker 9: (45:11)
Do you expect that to be a full repeal that the legislature will go for overlooking a modification to address some privacy concerns that PDAs have raised?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (45:20)
Well, there are a number of concerns about 58, about how you do it and I’ll work with the legislature. We haven’t had any specific conversations yet. Let’s take one more. Dan.
Speaker 10: (45:29)
Five years ago you signed an executive order having the attorney general get police involved. Do you want the legislature caught by that finally, as they consider these bills over the next few weeks and are they suspected?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (45:41)
I’m sorry, did you say five minutes ago I signed?
Speaker 10: (45:44)
Five years ago.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (45:45)
Five years ago. Yeah. I was going to say the. You realize how smart that executive order was now, because those are the reforms they’re talking about that need to be made. We did that five years ago and again, by executive order, not by the law. I tried to change the law, which sort of vindicates this whole movement that’s out there. Even in New York, I couldn’t get the law change passed. That’s why I had to do it by executive order. And that was five years. And I believe this is a common sense reform. I don’t believe the DA’s should be investigating police abuse of their police force. Why? Because conflict of interest works on two levels. The reality of a conflict of interest or the perception of a conflict of interest. Why would people believe, especially in this charged environment that any prosecutor who works with that police agency day in and day out is now going to be the independent reviewer of abuse?
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (46:59)
Just common sense suggests if you’re working with those people day in and day out, and you’re going to work with them tomorrow, after you make this ruling, how are you independent? And the whole situation here is about credibility that people know this is a fair justice system. So we said the attorney general, who is independently elected statewide, let the attorney general investigate any situation where a police officer kills an unarmed person. It was very controversial, I couldn’t get the law passed. I did it by executive order five years ago. And now today they’re still saying, “Oh, we need to reform like”, thank you very much identified years ago.
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (47:48)
But I believed it five years ago, I believe it today, I believe it should be done on a national level where we should have system in this country where we say a police abuse case can not be handled by the local prosecutor who works with those police day in and day out. And that is the law in this state by executive order. If they want to codify it in law. Great. But I wouldn’t water it down or modify it. I’d rather keep it nice and clean. If only by executive order, I’m going to go to work.
Speaker 11: (48:25)
[inaudible 00:48:25] pretended to tell us, you’re trying to get reimbursed for the public work projects and the systems been frozen. Should they stop using those public works programs or will they eventually be reimbursed by the state?
Speaker 12: (48:45)
Projects that are ongoing, they’ll eventually be reimbursed by the state for those projects that are already started.