WPCNR WEDNESDAY GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO CORONAVIRUS BRIEFING by John F. Bailey, June 17,2020:
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in his Wednesday morning Coronavirus briefing today closed by signing an Executive Order declaring Juneteenth, the anniversary of the official freeing of the slaves, a state holiday this Friday for all New York State Employees. He added that he would introduce legislation next year to make Juneteenth a state holiday.
He called upon local communities to step up and develop a dialogue on redesigning their police departments, calling on Mayors, councilpeople, community groups to get together and lead specific instructions on how to reestablish a new kind of policing in their community. He called upon leaders to lead, to step up and start the process.
The Governor gave some advice on how to start the process:
” People have said we have to change our police departments and our public safety strategy. Now is the time to do it, and they happen to be right. We have April 1, (2021) as the deadline. 288 days, and counting, for local governments to enact real reform.
“And we mean real reform, we mean start with a blank sheet of paper, and come up with your vision, for your public safety department, in your community.
“What do you want it to be, and what do you want it not to be? What is the use of force policy for your department? What is the staffing level? What does demilitarize the police mean in your community? People talk about defunding the police. What is the budget that you want for the police, which you can only arrive at after you determine what staffing you want for the police? What is your transparent disciplinary process? How do you want your police department to work in your community, in your city, in your county?
“And the collaborative means elected officials, police officials, community activists, put everybody at the table and answer the questions. What we have determined from this period of unrest and demonstration, from the beginning of which I said I stand with the protesters, we need to change.
“We need reform. Good.
“Second question, what change, what reform do you want? And how do we do it? That’s the intelligent progression of this moment towards action. And this moment without action is a wasted moment.
“Make change when you can make change.
“Make change when the planets line up to change. After the Sandy Hook massacre, passed sensible gun control. The nation saw children massacred in a classroom. They were outraged. They should have been. Turn the outrage into action. How do you turn outrage into action in society? By actually coming up with a new policy and making it a reality.
“But that starts with leadership, and it starts with the leadership on the local level. Somebody stand up and lead. Mayor, stand up and lead. City council president, stand up and lead. City council person in charge of public safety, stand up and lead. 288 days. Who has the paper, who has the pen, who’s calling the meeting?
” I ask that question to every one of the 500 communities in this state that have a police department. Who’s doing it in your city? Who’s doing it in your county? Only 288 days, and a lot of work to do in 288 days. Everyone says what they’re against. Great. What are you for? And how do we do it? That’s the question. Show some leadership.
Next he spoke somberly about the tide of new covid-19 spread across America. He said “The Federal Government is Making a Big Mistake.” He said he feared this spread will come back to New York when travelers start flying back into New York.
He did not say anything about whether New York State would attempt to test these travelers for the Covid-19 virus or quarantine them, which currently is a decision made by TSA (Transportation Safety Administration), and Customs Officials as they screen persons coming in to New York area airports. Most recently, he told reporters, “We are not there, yet.”
Finally he ended the briefing showing where New York State is now with the lowest number of deaths in New York since March 20, and went through the charts, hospitalizations an all-time low, new cases all time low. He announced New York City would move to Phase 2 Monday. He said the Mid Hudson Valley (including Westchester) could move on to Phase 3 Monday.
In the news conference that followed, the governor patiently explained again to reporters not getting the memo that the decision to move covid patients who had been showing covid symptoms and were no longer showing them back from hospitals to a nursing home was the protocol issues by the CDC. He for perhaps the 10th time explained this to reporter who asked.
Queried on a decision about whether schools would be open to receive students in school buildings, Governor Cuomo told reporters it is too soon to make that decision and listed the factors the state is considering before school doors are thrown open.
The Governor announced these daily briefings that he has conducted daily for 110 days, would end with Friday’s briefing, and thereafter be resumed when necessary.