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Cuomo says looters and protesters are separate groups: "We can't blur the lines"

Cuomo: Protesters and looters are separate
Cuomo: Protesters and looters are separate 07:48

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that people protesting the death of George Floyd have "by and large" been peaceful, and stressed that looters are a separate group.

"What's happening in this environment … all these issues are getting blurred," Cuomo said at his daily press briefing. "COVID-19 is one issue, the outrage over Mr. Floyd is another issue, looters are another issue."

"We can't blur the lines … don't blur the lines for your political purpose," Cuomo said, noting President Trump's criticism of New York City's response to the ongoing unrest. 

On Monday, Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a citywide curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. following Sunday's destruction in Manhattan. On Tuesday, the curfew will be moved up to start at 8 p.m. and it will be in place the rest of the week. 

The curfew failed to prevent another night of destruction overnight, including a break-in at the iconic Macy's store on 34th Street. Near Rockefeller Center, storefront windows were smashed and multiple people arrested.

Mr. Trump has called on the governor to send in the National Guard to assist the NYPD. Cuomo called the president's suggestion "political spin," and said sending in the National Guard would only "make a bad situation worse."

"I'm not happy with last night," Cuomo said of the NYPD's response to looting and property destruction. "... But you have 38,000 NYPD — they have protected the city before in situations like these." 

"I do believe that the NYPD well-deployed do not need the National Guard," he said. 

The governor said Mr. Trump has blurred the lines of these "compounding crises."

"The president doesn't want to distinguish between the looters and the protesters," Cuomo said. "He doesn't want to talk about the killing of Mr. Floyd, and he doesn't want to talk about reforming the justice system."

Cuomo also addressed the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic. According to the governor, the number of new COVID-19 cases walking in the doors of hospitals statewide is at an all time low: 154. 

Every region in the state, apart from New York City, has started to reopen. And Cuomo said that the city is "on track — in the midst of all of this — to open phase one next Monday."

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