New York City instituted a curfew last week to prevent a National Guard deployment, Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed to NY1 on Monday evening.
In his weekly “Mondays with the Mayor” interview, de Blasio told Inside City Hall Host Errol Louis he feared the risk of accidental violence or death if militarized law enforcement was used to prevent looting and unrest following protests over the death of George Floyd.
De Blasio said he was concerned when he heard talk in Washington D.C. and in Albany about activating the National Guard.
Just hours before de Blasio and Governor Cuomo imposed the curfew last week, Cuomo told reporters he was putting the National Guard on standby in case the NYPD couldn’t handle the unrest. That same day, President Donald Trump went a step further, threatening to deploy the United States military unless states quickly put an end to violence and looting.
For his part, de Blasio said he thought the NYPD’s own enforcement, along with the curfew, was sufficient in curbing the looting and violence that took place in the days after Floyd’s death. The unarmed black man was killed on May 25 after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.
The curfew went into effect the following week on June 1. It was initially set for 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. But after violence did not abate, the mayor moved it earlier, from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., and extended it for the entire week. The mayor cancelled the curfew a day earlier than planned after protests remained relatively calm Friday and Saturday nights.
But many activists and elected officials lambasted the mayor for ordering the curfew, contending that NYPD enforcement of it led to unnecessary arrests and confrontations with peaceful protesters. Police were oftentimes seen following marchers after the curfew went into effect, telling them to go home, and then arresting those who did not leave after a grace period.
According to the NYPD, no protesters were arrested Sunday, the first day in nearly a week without a curfew.
In his interview with NY1 on Monday, de Blasio also discussed the protests and renewed his pledge to shift spending from the police budget to youth services amid calls to defund the NYPD.
He also addressed criticism over his handling of the protests by former and current staffers and rumors about Police Commissioner Shea resigning or quitting.
And he discussed the first day coronavirus restrictions were partially eased, 100 days after the first positive case in the city.
Watch the full interview above.
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