NYPD commissioner says NYC does not need active duty military to control the protests
Posted June 4, 2020 12:40 p.m. EDT
CNN — New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said on Thursday his city "absolutely" does not need active duty US military soldiers to control protests.
His comment comes amid days of nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd and police brutality against black citizens. In some cities, including NYC, peaceful protests have turned violent and President Donald Trump on Monday vowed to use the military if the violence is not quelled. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday criticized the NYPD and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio for not preventing destruction in the city, suggesting that he could override the mayor to send the National Guard into the city.
"Absolutely not. Simple," Shea told CNN's Jim Sciutto on "Newsroom" when asked if he needs uniformed soldiers to maintain the peace. "I think we're in a much better place, Jim. Last two nights, we're getting very, very large crowds. Probably bigger crowds the last two nights but the key here is peacefully assembling and protesting."
He also said the President's aggressive rhetoric to governors to "dominate" protestors was not helpful to law enforcement to efforts.
"I think what we need now is coming together, quite frankly. Less divisiveness by many, many people, many people," Shea said. "I think the more that we hear each other, see each other, talk to each other, there is a lot of anger, there is a lot of rage, but there has got to be healing. And it has got to start at every level of society, whether elected officials, myself, and other law enforcement executives and police officers. It has got to start with the clergy, it has got to start with people."
Cuomo said the looting and damage in New York City was "inexcusable" during a press conference on Tuesday.
"The NYPD and the mayor did not do their job last night. I believe that," he said. "I believe the mayor underestimates the scope of the problem. I think he underestimates the duration of the problem. And I don't think they've used enough police to address the situation ... What happened in New York City was inexcusable."
De Blasio said during a radio interview later that day the Cuomo owes "an apology to 36,000 hardworking men and women who have been putting their lives on the line for all of us."
"The important point here is he dishonored the men and women of the NYPD in an absolutely inappropriate way for any leader to do," he said. "Any elected official who blames the NYPD while they were out there fighting in the streets to restore order and protect people, I think that's disgraceful."