Politics & Policy

NYC Imposes Curfew, Doubles Police Presence in Face of Expected Riots

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo holds his daily briefing at New York Medical College in Valhalla, N.Y., May 7, 2020. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

New York governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday that New York City would implement a mandatory curfew and increase its police presence to 800 officers in preparation for another night of violence in the wake of protests surrounding George Floyd’s death.

In a joint statement, Cuomo and de Blasio said the curfew would last from 11 tonight to 5 AM Tuesday, and the decision was made in consultation with the New York Police Department “to help prevent violence and property damage.” The additional police forces will be concentrated “in lower Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn,” where rioting and looting have been the most volatile.

“I stand behind the protestors and their message, but unfortunately there are people who are looking to take advantage of and discredit this moment for their own personal gain,” Cuomo said in a statement. “The violence and the looting that has gone on in New York City has been bad for the city, the state, and this entire national movement . . . while we encourage people to protest peacefully and make their voices heard, safety of the general public is paramount and cannot be compromised.”

De Blasio added that “we can’t let violence undermine the message of this moment. It is too important and the message must be heard.” He also said he had spoken with NYPD commissioner Dermot Shea “at length” over incidents “where officers didn’t uphold the values of this city or the NYPD.”

“We agree on the need for swift action,” de Blasio, whose daughter was arrested for protesting, stated. Commissioner Shea “will speak later today on how officers will be held accountable,” de Blasio added.

On Sunday, the NYPD’s counterterrorism head said that looters had operated in a “systematic” way and “developed a complex network of bicycle scouts” to determine police locations ahead of the destruction.

“They prepared to commit property damage and directed people who were following them that this should be done selectively and only in wealthier areas or at high-end stores run by corporate entities,” he told reporters.

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