New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo slammed Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday for not deploying enough police officers to stem looting in the state’s most populous city after a night of widespread property destruction and hundreds of arrests.
“I believe the mayor underestimates the scope of the problem. I believe he underestimates the duration of the problem, and I don’t think they’ve used enough police to address the situation,” Cuomo said.
“You have 38,000 police officers. Deploy them. Give them support. On the video tape, to me, you see a lot of looting, and not enough police presence,” he added.
Cuomo, a Democrat, said that he had offered to send the National Guard to New York City and that de Blasio, who is also a Democrat, had not accepted the offer. In comments that at times appeared to be thinly veiled threats, Cuomo repeatedly noted that a way to override de Blasio on the matter would be to “displace the mayor.”
“Can you displace a mayor? Yes. A mayor can be removed. It has not happened. I can’t find a precedent. But theoretically it is legally possible,” Cuomo said at one point. “It is a bizarre thing to try to do in this situation. I think it would make a bad situation worse. Also, I don’t think it’s necessary, because I believe the NYPD can do this, because the NYPD has done this.”
New York City was put under its strictest curfew since the 1940s on Monday as protests over the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, in police custody in Minneapolis last week continue to shake the city and the nation. Monday night into Tuesday morning saw the highest number of arrests in New York City since the protests began, according to NBC New York, with 700 arrested in all.