Sunday, May 31, 2020

Governor Cuomo Announces Attorney General James Will Review All Actions and Procedures Used During Last Night's Protests in New York City

Public Report Will Be Issued Within 30 Days

  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced Attorney General Letitia James will review all actions and procedures used during last night's protests in New York City and Brooklyn in response to the death of George Floyd and issue a public report within 30 days. The Attorney General's independent review should include a review of both police procedures and crowd actions during the protests.

"We have an injustice in the criminal justice system that is abhorrent. George Floyd's death was not just about George Floyd. These are not individual incidents — and you are blind or in denial if you are still treating each one like a unique situation," Governor Cuomo said. "This nation's history of discrimination and racism dates back hundreds of years and it is what is behind this anger and frustration, but violence cannot be the answer because it obscures the righteousness of the message and the mission. Last night we saw disturbing violent clashes amidst protests right here in New York City, and I'm asking Attorney General James to review the actions and the procedures that were used last night because the public deserves answers and they deserve accountability."

New York State Attorney General Letitia James said, "Peaceful protest is a basic civil right. That right should be protected and guarded. We take the designation to investigate last night's actions very seriously. We will act independently to seek answers, ensure that the truth is laid bare, and that there is accountability for any wrongdoing. We will be transparent in our findings as we seek accountability for those who did wrong. We are asking anyone with information about last night, including visual evidence, to please share it with our office so we can take it into account as we proceed with this investigation. Please email"

Attorney General James Statement on Investigation of Interactions between Police and Civilians in New York City

  Attorney General Letitia James released the following statement about her office’s designation to investigate the interactions between the NYPD and civilians last night in New York City:

“Peaceful protest is a basic civil right. That right should be protected and guarded. We take the designation to investigate last night's actions very seriously. We will act independently to seek answers, ensure that the truth is laid bare, and that there is accountability for any wrongdoing. We will be transparent in our findings as we seek accountability for those who did wrong.”
“We are asking anyone with information about last night, including visual evidence, to please share it with our office so we can take it into account as we proceed with this investigation. Please email”


  Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning, we had a tough night in New York City last night, undoubtedly. We saw things that we never want to see and that we want to make sure don’t happen in the future. I don’t want for a moment to minimize some of the challenges we faced and the underlying reality that for those who were there to peacefully protest, they were expressing an anger, a frustration about things that things that have not changed and need to change in this city and in this country. So, I want to begin at the beginning, there is a reason that peaceful protestors are protesting. There are changes we have to make. There are changes we will make in this city and we should make in this country. That, to me, is abundantly clear. There’s a whole different matter of some protestors who were there not to peacefully protest, not to work on constructive change, and who I think also don’t represent many of the communities of our city. But I’ll talk about that in a moment.

The first thing to talk about is the big picture. Last night, very difficult night, but thank God what we saw was that even though there were many, many engagements, many, many situations all over the city, at least based on the information we have right now, thank God no loss of life, no major injuries. Think about the countless different points around the city where something was happening, think about the thousands upon thousands of NYPD officers deployed to address the situation, to guard peaceful protest, but also to deal with any acts of violence, any attempt to attack people or attack the property of people in this city. And when you add up how many things were happening and how many places all over the city, it says something about New York City, it says something about the people of New York City, it says something about the NYPD, that thank God there was no loss of life, there were no major injuries. There was some real property damage, no doubt. It was contained and it was addressed consistently.

But when I look at the big picture here, a situation that was very complex, very difficult, and unlike anything honestly, we have seen in recent years – and this is something that bears real discussion and real analysis – these protests were different not because of the underlying issues. The underlying issues are profound and meaningful, again expressed by those who are peacefully protesting and seeking change. The x-factor here, of a different kind of small set of – I would call them not just protestors but people who came to do violence in a systematic, organized fashion. That is a different reality we need to grapple with. We did not see that in 2014 and 2015. We are seeing something new, and not just here in New York City but all over the country, and we have to recognize it and we have to address it.

So, what I saw last night and I was around different parts of Brooklyn, different parts of Manhattan in the course of the afternoon and the evening, I saw a very complex ever-changing situation. I spoke to elected officials throughout the day, spoke to our police leadership throughout the day, met in Brooklyn with Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and Chief of Department Terry Monahan near one of the sites of one of the protests to talk about what was specifically happening there, what could be done better. Look, some things were done very much the right way in that we saw there was not, thank God, that loss of life or major injuries. And we saw tremendous restraint overall from the NYPD. There are always going to be some incidents we don’t like and I’m going to speak about that as well but when we composite the whole day, thousands upon thousands of officers in an ever-changing situation, I saw a lot of restraint under very, very difficult circumstances.

And I’m going to keep saying to anyone who is protesting for change, do not take your anger out at the individual officer in front of you, that man or woman who is simply trying to keep the peace. Work for change in our society, hold the elected officials accountable, vote – do all the things that can actually lead to change but don’t take your frustration out on a working man or woman in front of you who did not make the policies that you disagree with. That’s my view, strongly. And I saw a tremendous amount of restraint but I also saw things that needed to be done better, clearly. I saw some moments yesterday that were disturbing in terms of the ways police handled things and that need to be done better. We – many of us have seen the video involving two NYPD vehicles and a crowd of protestors. I didn’t like what I saw one bit, I did not want to ever see something like that, I don’t ever want to see it again. And clearly, we need to do a full investigation and look at the actions of those officers and see what was done and why it was done and what could be done differently.

But I also want to emphasize that situation was created by a group of protestors blocking and surrounding a police vehicle, a tactic that we had seen before in the last two days, a tactic that can be very, very dangerous to everyone involved and we’ve seen direct attacks on police officers including in their vehicles and we need a full and impartial investigation but we also need to be clear about the context. That was happening against the backdrop where police officers had been attacked before in the exact same situation. That was a situation that had to be resolved. It could not stay that way. But we need to understand more about it and if there’s discipline that needs to be [inaudible] out, there will be.

Now, it comes back to this point about why we are seeing a different kind of protest. It is a small number of people, it is well organized even though many of the people are associated with the anarchist movement and we often think of that as not an example of organization and hierarchy. In this case, we’ve got a lot of people who are organized. They plan together online, they have very explicit rules – and we’re going to make all of this information available today and in the days ahead. Some come from outside of the city, some are from inside the city. Some are from the neighborhoods where the protests take place, some are not. But what we do know is there is an explicit agenda of violence and it does not conform with the history of this city in which we have always honored nonviolent protests. This is a city – no place in America has honored protests more than New York City. No place in America has protected protests more than New York City. And we will continue to do so whatever someone’s views but it has to be nonviolent. We honor the tradition of civil disobedience. We honor the examples of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., of Gandhi, of so many people who showed that real change comes from peaceful protests.

One of the best examples, years ago in this city when we had the broken unconstitutional policy of stop-and-frisk, there was a peaceful, silent march down Fifth Avenue. Thousands upon thousands of New Yorkers practicing that tradition of Dr. King, demanding an end to stop-and-frisk. That was one of the pivotal moments in the battle against that broken policy. That policy was ended because of that protest and so many others that led to changes through the voting process and beyond. And now we don’t have that broken and unconstitutional policy anymore and we’re going to make a lot of other changes through peaceful democratic means. But folks who come to incite violence, we will not accept that. And it’s important to understand that there’s a lot of concern in the community. I’ve talked to many, many elected officials from the African American community yesterday.

And there’s a growing concern that some are attempting to speak in their name and for their community inappropriately and in a way that’s counterproductive. And I’ll tell you in the last few days we have seen some very moving, powerful statements and statements that tell us something that we need to understand. People are being in some ways blunter and more honest than perhaps ever before. And I have been trying to be very open about my own experience as an individual, what I know and what I don’t know as a white man in American addressing these issues and working with communities of color, acknowledging my own gaps in understanding, acknowledging my own privilege and recognizing that change has to come from communities and there has to be self-determination in that process.

One of the most powerful statements that I’ve seen in the last weeks came from the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus of the New York City Council. And I want to be clear, it is a statement that is very critical of the NYPD. And I may agree or disagree with any specific sentence or line in this statement but there is a piece of this statement that I think speaks so powerfully to what’s going on. I wanted to show it to everyone. I want to recommend that people read this. A majority of our City Council are African American, Latino, and Asian – and they have put together something we all need to hear. I’m going to quote from a piece of this statement. It says, “We do not condone violence against the police or the senseless destruction of property but the Police Department must acknowledge that those of its members who lack discipline and frequently do violence to us also endanger the lives of their own colleagues. The absence of any real accountability for the habitual killing of our people undoubtedly poses the greatest threat to public safety as do the agitators that have no claim to our struggle but stoked the fire before retreating to the safety of their privileged white enclaves. They would be wise to stay at home instead of inciting further acts of hostility toward our brothers and sisters. And to those individuals who are not of our community but genuinely want to be helpful towards advancing the cause, we appreciate your sentiments but ask that you not speak to experiences that you have never suffered. We got this.”

This is the view of the majority of our City Council and I think it’s something we all need to listen to because in the end real community leadership, leadership that has come up on communities – whether it’s elected officials, community leaders, activists, clergy, members of the Cure Violence Movement – these are the folks who are working every day for fundamental change but they know it must be peaceful. And those are the voices that must be heard in this city. So, with that said, I want to follow through on a statement I made yesterday that we look at the events of the last few days and understand that there are real issues that must be addressed. There are many things that I can tell you that I think were done right by the NYPD especially the level of restraint.

But there also were mistakes and there were individual actions that must be fully investigated and that must lead to accountability. And as I’ve said we need an independent review of what's happened in these days. So, I am appointing two individuals to lead that process and I’ve asked them to come up with very quick results on the initial evaluation of what happened in these days of protest by all players and to look at where accountability needs to be and then to look at some of the bigger issues that have been raised here as well. I have asked them to come back with initial findings in the next few weeks during the month of June. And after I speak and the Police Commissioner speaks, you’ll be hearing from both of them, our Corporation Counsel Jim Johnson and our Department of Investigation Commissioner Margaret Garnett.

Finally, we need to make big changes. I’m not going to list all of the things that have changed in this city over these last years beginning with the end of the broken policy of stop-and-frisk, beginning with the actions to fundamentally change policing including the neighborhood policing strategy, the settlement of the Central Park Five case – there are many, many things I can go into. I’m not going to do that list today because they were all the right things to do and the right direction but they were not enough and we all understand that we need to go farther. So, there are several things we need to work on immediately.

One, requires help from Albany. I was heartened to hear Governor Cuomo say yesterday that he would sign legislation repealing the 50-a bill, repealing the current law in New York State. That inhibits transparency when it comes to police discipline matters. I have said we need to repeal and replace, I want to be abundantly clear. There must be some provision in the law to protect the personal information – the home address, the type of information about an individual police officer that is about their safety and security. We need to be clear in any legislative change that issue is addressed fully. But the 50-a law as it stands now inhibits transparency and corrodes trust between police and community. The last three police commissioners of this city beginning with Bill Bratton and now up to Commissioner Shea, including Commissioner O’Neill, all have agreed with me that this current law does not work and it hurts their mission of building a deeper bond between police and community. If the Governor is ready to sign that, I commend him, I thank him – now, let’s work together with the Legislature to repeal the current law and address the legitimate issues of safety and security of our officers and move forward. If we can do that in the month of June, that would be, I think, a huge step forward for the people of this city.

Second, we need to do more to take our current approach to risk management, which identifies if there are officers who are not cut out for the police force. That work needs to be amplified, speeded up, intensified. We need to make sure that anybody who should not be a police officer is not a police officer. I know – and I’ve had this conversation with Commissioner Shea many times – that he is an exemplar of what good policing is. He started on the beat in 1991 in the South Bronx. He doesn’t want to see a single cop on the beat who doesn’t belong there. We need that system to work and work better and work faster and it needs to be visible to the people of this city.

And finally, I’ve heard from so many elected officials that there are some people in our police force who do not belong in the roles they are in. There are some people in positions of leadership in a community or some officers on the beat who just don’t fit the work needed in that community for whatever reason and unfortunately have a history of tensions with the community. We can’t have that. Not everyone fits every role. That’s true in the NYPD and that’s true in all of life. We need to do a better job of hearing the concerns of community leaders when they say someone is not working out in our community, in our precinct, and we need a change. And I pledged to work with the community leaders to make those changes in the weeks ahead.

So, we have a lot of work to do but I am very confident that we can get this done together. As I turn to Commissioner Shea, who I spoke to probably 50 times yesterday, literally, I want to thank him for his leadership. I want to thank Chief Monahan who was out there dealing with specific protests all over the city. This is incredibly difficult work and there will be critiques and there will be things that need to be investigated and there will need to be things improved and we expect to do better today than we did yesterday. But I want to commend the restraint that we saw overall from the NYPD, that is crucial to keeping the peace in this city and respecting the right to peacefully protest. That’s what the NYPD has done for years. That’s what they did yesterday. With that, I turn to Commissioner Dermot Shea.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. So, I’ll give a brief summary of yesterday’s events. What we saw across New York City from the Police Department perspective in policing some of the demonstrations, was similar to the two nights before. Yesterday began – which seems like a long time ago – with two protests in New York City. First was at the 120th Precinct on Staten Island. The second one was 125th Street up in Harlem. Both went overwhelmingly well. What we quickly identified though was a group within that used the 125th Street peaceful demonstration – I would liken it to hijacking a peaceful demonstration – and quickly began what turned out to be a long night for the men and women of this police department.

At the end of the night, to summarize, there were over 300 arrests made, closer to 350 primarily for minor offenses associated with the protest. There were over 30 members of the department, thankfully, none seriously – but over 30 injuries suffered. There was some property damage unfortunately. There was a religious institution that was damaged as well as some private and public property. If I could categorize it, where we saw most of the activity yesterday was centralized in one area of Brooklyn as well as southern Manhattan. I would categorize it probably below 23rd Street in and around Union Square, 14th Street.

We have a number of protests that are scheduled for today. We have an abundant number of men and women – I thank them for their service, their professionalism, as the Mayor said. And with my colleagues here, I welcome any outside look, to look at how the men and women of this department are holding up, trying to keep New Yorkers safe during this difficult time. And I also would add one more thank you to some of the elected officials that showed up, the Mayor mentioned, in Brooklyn as well as Manhattan to work with the police, work with the protestors, try to engage, try to make sure that these protests go on peacefully and not what we saw in a couple of incidents where they’re hijacked and property damage ensued. So, hopefully, it’s a safe day for New Yorkers. We’ll get through this. We’ll get through it like we get through anything. We’ll get through it together and I’ll wait for the questions to come afterwards.

Mayor: Thank you, Commissioner. And I want to emphasize that point. There were a lot of people out there trying to work to meditate to keep the peace. I want to thank all the elected officials who were out. There were a lot of clergy out. I want to thank members of the well-known God Squad in the Flatbush area who do such amazing work on the ground working with the community. There were members of the Cure Violence Movement out all over the city, community activists. You saw an outpouring of leaders who were working to keep the peace, to have it be peaceful protests and productive protests. Some of those leaders thought some things could have been handled differently. Some of those leaders have a strong critique of specific situations yesterday or the day before and broader critique of the NYPD but we all worked together for the peace of all New Yorkers. And I want to thank each and every one of them, even if we have moments where we don’t agree, I want to thank them for being out there to be peacemakers. And yes, New York City came through this as we always do and that is the strength of this city.

MAYOR DE BLASIO - Saturday May 30, 2020 11:30 PM

  Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good evening, everybody. It's been a long day in this city, but at the end of this day, I can say that New Yorkers all over the city have acted in the way we believe in, in this city, except for a very few individuals. New Yorkers have expressed their desire to address real issues and to address them the right way. And that's the peaceful protesters who have been out today and then the millions of people who watched what was going on but didn't participate. But there were a small number who chose to commit acts of violence who are here only unfortunately to agitate and to attack those who protect us, our police officers. And that's just unacceptable. I spent a lot of time today in Brooklyn, a lot of time today in Manhattan, and what I saw was some very, very systematic efforts by a very few people to create a negative atmosphere.

And those people do not represent the values of New York City and what they are doing is not going to help us move forward in New York City. I'm joined here by Deputy Mayor Phil Thompson, by commissioner Marco Carrion. Just like me, they've been out around the city and what we have seen, again, a small number of people, in the scheme of things, protesting to begin with, very few of whom committed acts of violence, but that few was systematic in their efforts to harm police officers and to create damage to police vehicles, to storefronts, to other property. And that's not going to get us anywhere. So, to the peaceful protestors, if any of you are still out there tonight or trying to work peacefully for change, let me be very clear. We hear your desire to see these issues, relationship between police and community, the need for justice, the need for real change in our society.

We hear you loud and clear. We appreciate and respect all peaceful protests, but now it is time for people to go home. If you went out peacefully to make a point about the need for change, you have been heard and change is coming in the city. I have no doubt about that. It's time to go home so we can all move forward. But those who are out there simply to create violence, those who are out there to express hatred towards our police officers. We won't tolerate that. If you're out there to commit an act of violence, you're going to get arrested tonight. There are fewer and fewer people out at this point, and those who are engaged in negative violent activity, they will feel the consequences of that activity. So, look, the NYPD all day long has been working hard. It's been a very, very difficult day for our officers.  Some of them have been put into very dangerous situations and that's not appropriate. That's not the protest reality and history that we believe in in this city.
We believe in peaceful protest. We believe in civil disobedience. We believe in people exercising their democratic rights, but not attacking police officers, not attacking communities. And what I heard from elected officials today and community members was how resentful they were that people were coming in many cases from outside the community and creating negativity and violence that did not represent their community. So, look, we got a lot of work to do in this city, but this is a place that is capable of great change and great progress. It always has been and I have a lot of faith in the people in New York City. We will get through this moment, we will make the changes we need to.

At the same time, we're fighting a crisis, a huge crisis of the coronavirus, a pandemic, and we're fighting that together as one New York City. The story of these last three months has been New Yorkers uniting to fight back a crisis that we could never have imagined, to fight back a disease we didn't even know about. New Yorkers came together to do that and the reason this city is getting healthier and safer all the time is because New Yorkers banded together. So, we will band together again to overcome the challenges we face. That is how New York City moves forward.


  Mayor Bill de Blasio: This morning, I’m going to speak very plainly about what is happening in this country, in this city, and it begins with an acknowledgment that there is a poison in this land, there is something profoundly wrong, and in so many ways we pretend to see it, pretend to address it but we don’t do it in a deep and meaningful way. And that’s why we are experiencing everything we are experiencing. There is a poison of structural racism. It haunts the lives of people of color every day in this country, in this city – every day. And I want to speak as someone who acknowledges my own reality as a white male, acknowledges that privilege, acknowledges that I can only understand so much. But I know enough to say that for so many people of color and particularly members of the Black community. Every day is pervaded by racism, that hatred lurks around the corner at all times. From the moment people become conscious of the world around them to the day they leave they know racism as a constant, as a weight, as a pain. And that anger and frustration, the fear, the confusion that comes with that is part of people’s lives, that must be expressed and acted on because you just have to acknowledge we can’t go on like this. And I’m talking to everyone but I am particularly talking to white New Yorkers to say we can’t go on like this.

We can’t have so many of our fellow New Yorkers live in pain throughout their lives, and then have that pain deepened over and over and over again. So, let’s be clear, the coronavirus crisis has created a depth of pain that still has not been accounted for. So many New Yorkers have lost someone but that is particularly true in communities of color and particularly true in the African American community. That loss, that loss is being felt so deeply because everyone knows it’s not based on equality, it wasn’t that everyone lost the same way, communities of color lost so much more. When I walked through Queensbridge Houses in Queens on Monday, I heard the most painful stories of people who had lost loved ones and could not even mourn them because of this crisis. And the fact that I heard story after story after story in just one walk-through, one housing development, spoke volumes about how much pain there is out there and then you add the horrible insult of that video of Amy Cooper – the epitome of American white racism in one video, her allegation being, her indictment being that there was a Black man in her midst. Literally criminalizing the very act of being a Black man. That’s what we saw before our eyes and it brought up, for so many people, the fundamental contradiction that pervades our society, that until we heal it we can’t move forward. We just can’t. It will just tear at us and tear at us.

And then the entire nation watches George Floyd killed in broad daylight by someone who is supposed to protect us with no concern at all, his killer seemed to have no emotion about the fact that he was killing a Black man as if there was no value in that man. And unfortunately, that’s what the history of this country has taught too many people and we have to stop it. So, I’m beginning by saying that raw pain, anger, frustration it gets brought up so deeply in moments like this but it’s an every day, every hour thing for Black New Yorkers, for Latino New Yorkers, for so many people who deal with the pain of racism, pervasive in their lives.

Now, last night there were protests. I was in Brooklyn with Commissioner Shea and these protests brought up a lot of issues that we have to address. We have spent years changing the nature of policing in this city and we have much, much more to do. We all know that. And last night was a difficult, complex situation. I’m going to speak about what our officers went through but I first want to say there were people who came there to peacefully protest, there were others who came there obviously to try and incite acts of violence. But it’s our obligation as the City government, it’s the NYPD’s obligation to find the best possible way to keep peace, to protect everyone, to avoid anything that allows further violence to occur but that means also recognizing that any aggressive act towards a peaceful protestor sends exactly the wrong message. It’s wrong in every way but it also sets us back.

There were elected officials at this protest, some of whom were pepper sprayed. What a horrible, horrible situation that the people who represent us, who are there on behalf of their community peacefully observing, trying to help keep the peace, that they ended up being victims of pepper spraying. That’s unacceptable and we need to understand exactly why that happened. There needs to be accountability. We’ve seen some videos that do not reflect the philosophy of this city, the values of this city, the values of this administration, do not reflect the values of the NYPD. We’ve seen some videos where protestors were handled very violently and very roughly, and that is not neighborhood policing and we will not accept that kind of behavior from any police officer.

But I’ll tell you, at the same time, we saw acts of violence from protestors that have nothing to do with the tradition of peaceful, democratic protest that has pervaded the history of New York City. New York City honors the right to protest. The NYPD has protected protestors for generations of every point of view and done it well but some protestors last night came with an agenda of violence and incitement and they meant to harm police officers and they did harm police officers. They meant to attack police vehicles and they did. They meant to attack police precincts and that is all purely unacceptable. It does not reflect our values. We will not accept that. I want to remind everyone that the man and woman on the beat made a decision to join the police in the name of peace. They are not the policy-makers, they are the people trying to protect their fellow New Yorkers. They were subjected to horrible, vile things last night and tremendous violence and that will not stand. Because they are working men and women and any protestor who tries to take the humanity away from a police officer and devalue them just because they are a public servant is no better than the racists who devalue people of color and particularly black men in America.

So, if you’re a peaceful protestor, we will go to the ends of the Earth to protect your right to protest, whatever your viewpoint. We will always make sure you have that right but if you are there to incite violence we cannot and will not allow that. A lot happened last night. I could tell from being there how much was happening, how complex it was, how dangerous the situation was. We need to get to the bottom of exactly what happened and how we can do things better. I’m going to initiate an independent review immediately of the events of last night. I will announce the details later on today but I want to know exactly what happened, why it happened, and what can be done better. I want there to be accountability for anyone, whatever their status, but I also want to know what we can do better to avoid any acts of violence and we are working as we speak today to make sure that the protests in the days to come will be as peaceful as humanly possible, that there will be different protocols and approaches to ensure the right to protest is honored and that everyone can do so in a peaceful manner.

I also want to say that we will engage community leaders and community members immediately to determine how to approach protests better and differently. We’re going to engage members of the Cure Violence Movement who have done outstanding work in their neighborhoods stopping violence to work on how to make sure protests occur without violence as well. We’re going to reach to the grassroots, elected officials, community leaders, Cure Violence Movement leaders to determine the best way in the weeks and months ahead to honor the rights of all New Yorkers and keep the peace simultaneously. It was a long and difficult night and we intend to do better. With that, I’ll turn to Commissioner Dermot Shea –

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. So, across the city the last two nights we have had demonstrations. At times those demonstrations have turned violent, unfortunately. This is, in my view, something we have seen across American cities. In the last two days and specifically last night in Brooklyn we had a protest of approximately 3,000 individuals that was splintered into several smaller protests. During the course of the evening I can tell you that we affected over 200 arrests. We have multiple officers injured. I can tell you some of the things that those officers encountered. We had Molotov cocktails recovered. We had an arrest affected for attempted murder of four police officers by an individual throwing a Molotov cocktail into an occupied marked police van. We had a firearm recovered, we had brass knuckles recovered, we had countless bricks and other items thrown at police officers. Again, this was a volatile, as the Mayor said, dangerous situation and any and all violence we denounce. We can do better than this and we must. We fully support – and I want to thank all the police officers, all the members of the community, all the elected officials that were out either working the event last night or demonstrating peacefully. And that’s the key word here, peacefully. We fully remain committed to supporting the right to publicly assemble, to protest, to free speech, this is at the heart of everything, everything that we believe in. But at the same time, we will have zero tolerance for individuals looking to cause harm to anyone and unfortunately, we saw that repeatedly last night as well.

We Found Current 32nd District Senator Luis Sepulveda - and asked him, are you a Child Molester, Drug User, Drug Dealer, as your brother Claims, and are you Wired by the Feds? Read His Answers

   I found current 32nd State Senator Luis Sepulveda walking near an event Saturday, and had a few questions for him. I took his photo, and noticed a bulge in his shirt that is circled in red. It has been rumored for a while that Luis Sepulveda was wired so I asked him after seeing the bulge which could be a wire, if he was wired. I got no denial from him.

I then asked Luis Sepulveda if he was a child molester, drug user, and drug addict as was claimed by his brother to the State Senate Ethics Committee, and Senate Majority Leader, the public needs to know. Again I got no denial. 

Luis Sepulveda then went next to the one lone elected official that stayed at the event who did not leave when he arrived. I once again asked Luis Sepulveda if he was wired, an alleged child molester, drug user, and drug dealer. Again there was no denial from Luis Sepulveda who moved away to another area. The elected official laughed saying I drove him away. I said the public needs to know, because federal authorities have wired Bronx elected officials before to entrap other Bronx elected officials. Luis Sepulveda was very close to Mayor Bill de Blasio working on the mayor's presidential bid.

   There is no pocket, so what is this bulge in Luis Sepulveda's shirt?

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Bharati Foundation Teams with ICNA and AAOHA to Feed Hundreds of People in Soundview

 Saturday Ms. Bharati Kemerj of the Bharati Foundation joined with Shabbir Gul of the ICNA Relief USA, and Aleksander Nilaj of AAOHA to hand out all kinds of food, (including pet food) to hundreds of people who lined up for blocks in the Soundview section of the Bronx. Elected officials and those running for office were on hand as City Councilman (and 15th Congressional Candidate) Ruben Diaz Sr., 32nd State Senate District candidate John Perez, and 85th Assembly candidate Kenneth Burgos of TEAM DIAZ went down the long line of waiting people handing out face masks before joining the food give away.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., City Council members Ruben Diaz Sr (candidate for the 15th Congressional district) and Mark Gjonaj, 32nd State Senate District candidate John Perez, and 85th Assembly District candidate Kenneth Burgos joined the Bharati Foundation, ICNA Relief USA, and AAOHA to hand out food to the Soundview community. 

Above - A group photo of the volunteers, elected officials, and candidates for office.
Below - Candidate for the 32nd State Senate John Perez, and candidate for the 85th Assembly District Kenneth Burgos hand out face masks to those on line.


Above - L-R Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr, Shabbur Gil of INCA Releif USA, Bishop Rosario, and John Perez candidate for 32nd State Senate. City Councilman Mark Gjonaj and City Councilman and 15th Congressional candidate Ruben Diaz Sr, talk in the background.
Below - Ruben Diaz Sr. Councilman and candidate for the 15th Congressional District, John Perez candidate for the 32nd State Senate District, and Bronx BP Ruben Diaz Jr. wait for the next person to give a box of fresh produce to. 

Above - Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. places a box of produce on this woman's cart.
Below - 32nd State Senate candidate John Perez places a box of produce in this woman' wagon.

Above - INCA Relief USA even gave out half gallons of milk.
Below - These women were thankful for the wagon load of groceries, which included the Meow Mix for a cat on top.

Governor Cuomo Announces New York City to Enter Phase 1 of Reopening on June 8 and Five Regions Enter Phase 2 of Reopening Today

Announces Additional Industries Following Strict Safety and Social Distancing Guidelines Can Reopen in Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Southern Tier as Part of Phase 2 Today

Implements New Early Warning System Dashboard to Aggregate and Organize New York State's COVID-19 Data in Partnership with County, Regional, State and Global Experts

Confirms 1,551 Additional Coronavirus Cases in New York State - Bringing Statewide Total to 368,284; New Cases in 48 Counties

Governor Cuomo: "Phase one should bring about 400,000 employees back to work in New York City. Remember that reopening does not mean we're going back to the way things were. Life is not about going back. Nobody goes back. We go forward. It's going to be different. It is reopening to a new normal, it's a safer normal. People will be wearing masks, people will be socially distanced. It doesn't mean they don't like you, it's not a personal reflection, it's just a new way of interacting which is what we have to do."

Cuomo: "Wear a mask, get tested, and socially distance. It is that simple, but that hard. It is that simple, but that hard. Those simple devices - wearing a mask, hand sanitizer - they make all the difference. You talk to all the experts - what advice, what should we do? Wear a mask. How can it be that simple? Because sometimes it's that simple."

  Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York City will enter Phase 1 of reopening on June 8 and that five other regions—Central New York, Finger Lakes, Mohawk Valley, North Country and Southern Tier—can enter Phase 2 of reopening today. Phase 2 allows office-based workers, real estate services, in-store retail shopping and some barbershop services to resume. Each industry is subject to specific state guidelines to maximize safety and social distancing. Business guidance for phase two of the state's reopening plan is available here.

Governor Cuomo also announced the implementation of a new early warning dashboard that aggregates the state's expansive data collection efforts for New Yorkers, government officials and experts to monitor and review how the virus is being contained on an ongoing basis. It tracks new infections and their severity, hospital capacity by region, and other metrics. The early warning system dashboard was developed in consultation with internationally-known experts who have been advising New York State. The early warning dashboard can be found here.

No. 202.35: Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws Relating to the Disaster Emergency

No. 202.35
E X E C U T I V E  O R D E R
Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws
Relating to the Disaster Emergency 
WHEREAS, on March 7, 2020, I issued Executive Order Number 202, declaring a State disaster emergency for the entire State of New York; and
WHEREAS, both travel-related cases and community contact transmission of COVID-19 have been documented in New York State and are expected to continue;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Section 29-a of Article 2-B of the Executive Law to issue any directive during a disaster emergency necessary to cope with the disaster, I hereby issue the following directives for the period from the date of this Executive Order through June 28, 2020:

  • Executive Order 202.34, which extended the provisions of Executive Orders 202.3, 202.4, 202.5, 202.6, 202.7, 202.8, 202.10, 202.11, 202.13, 202.14, 202.28, and 202.31 which each closed or otherwise restricted public or private businesses or places of public accommodation, and Executive Order 202.32 as modified by Executive Order 202.33 which required postponement, cancellation, or restriction on size of all non-essential gatherings of more than ten individuals, and which together constitute New York On PAUSE, is hereby continued until and unless later amended or extended by a future Executive Order, provided, however
  • That effective at 1:00 p.m. on May 29, 2020 that the reductions and restrictions on the in-person workforce at non-essential businesses or other entities shall no longer apply to Phase Two industries:
  • Professional Services, Administrative Support, Information Technology,
  • Real estate services, Building and Property Management, Leasing, Rental, and Sales Services,
  • Retail In-store Shopping, Rental, Repair, and Cleaning,
  • Barbershops and Hair Salon (limited services), and
  • Motor Vehicle Leasing, Rental, and Sales.
  • Businesses or entities in industries open in Phase Two must be operated subject to the guidance promulgated by the Department of Health.
  • As of May 29, 2020 the regions meeting the prescribed public health and safety metrics required for Phase Two reopening are: Finger Lakes, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier, and the North Country. Any additional regions which meet the criteria after such date will be deemed to be incorporated into this Executive Order without further revision and will be permitted to re-open Phase two industries, subject to the same terms and conditions. 

G I V E N   under my hand and the Privy Seal of the State in the City of Albany this twenty-ninth day of May in the year two thousand twenty.


Secretary to the Governor

No. 202.34: Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws Relating to the Disaster Emergency

No. 202.34
E X E C U T I V E  O R D E R

Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws
Relating to the Disaster Emergency

WHEREAS, on March 7, 2020, I issued Executive Order Number 202, declaring a State disaster emergency for the entire State of New York; and
WHEREAS, both travel-related cases and community contact transmission of COVID-19 have been documented in New York State and are expected to continue;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by Section 29-a of Article 2-B of the Executive Law to issue any directive during a disaster emergency necessary to cope with the disaster, I hereby issue the following directives for the period from the date of this Executive Order through June 27, 2020:

  • Business operators and building owners, and those authorized on their behalf shall have the discretion to ensure compliance with the directive in Executive Order 202.17 (requiring any individual over age two, and able to medically tolerate a face-covering, be required to cover their nose and mouth with a mask or cloth face-covering when in a public place), including the discretion to deny admittance to individuals who fail to comply with the directive in Executive Order 202.17 or to require or compel their removal if they fail to adhere to such directive, and such owner or operator shall not be subject to a claim of violation of the covenant of quiet enjoyment, or frustration of purpose, solely due to their enforcement of such directive. Nothing in this directive shall prohibit or limit the right of State and local enforcement authorities from imposing fines or other penalties for any violation of the directive in Executive Order 202.17.  This directive shall be applied in a manner consistent with the American with Disabilities Act or any provision of either New York State or New York City Human Rights Law, or any other provision of law.
  • Executive Order 202.31, which extended the provisions of Executive Orders 202.3, 202.4, 202.5, 202.6, 202.7, 202.8, 202.10, 202.11, 202.13, 202.14, 202.28 which each closed or otherwise restricted public or private businesses or places of public accommodation, and Executive Order 202.32 as modified by Executive Order 202.33 which required postponement, cancellation, or restriction on size of all non-essential gatherings of more than ten individuals, and which together constitute New York On PAUSE, is hereby continued until and unless later amended or extended by a future Executive Order, provided, however:
  • As soon as a region meets the prescribed public health and safety metrics, as determined by the Department of Health, they will be eligible for Phase One reopening.
  • Businesses or entities open pursuant to Department of Health guidance must be operated subject to the guidance promulgated by the Department of Health.
  • As of May 28, 2020 the regions meeting the prescribed public health and safety metrics required for Phase One reopening are: Finger Lakes, Central New York, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier, North Country, Western New York, Capital Region, Mid-Hudson, and Long Island. Such regions include the counties of Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, Wyoming, Yates, Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, Oswego, Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego, Schoharie, Broome, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Niagara, Albany, Columbia, Greene, Saratoga, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Warren, Washington, Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk. Any additional regions which meet the criteria after such date will be deemed to be incorporated into this Executive Order without further revision and will be permitted to re-open Phase One industries, subject to the same terms and conditions.

G I V E N   under my hand and the Privy Seal of the State in the City of Albany this twenty-eighth day of May in the year two thousand twenty. 

Secretary to the Governor

MAYOR DE BLASIO on COVID-19 - May 29, 2020

  Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning, everybody. What's on everyone's mind all over this city is the restart of this city, taking the first step to getting us back to a better situation. And it's all been made possible by the extraordinary work all of you are doing every single day, and we're going to keep doing it, because that's how we get to that restart. We're talking about, as I said yesterday, 200,000 to 400,000 New Yorkers who can, and will be going back to work in a matter of weeks. We have to make sure it goes well, and that means supporting the businesses, not only listening to them, but helping them in very real ways. So, as I've been listening to business owners, big and small, what I hear from them is they need help making sense of all this. They need help getting off to that strong start. They know it's not going to be business as usual. They know we're in uncharted territory, but they're really clear that they need help to be able to start as well as they want to, and we want them to. So, we've got to make sure that business owners can keep their workplaces safe, that they can get their businesses going. 

So, let's talk about something that is absolutely necessary for every business to succeed and to be safe, and this environment we're in, in this uncharted territory. One thing is simple, straightforward, necessary, and that is face coverings. You need face coverings for all employees. You need face coverings for customers. Everyone understands that for business to work, people are going to have to get into some kind of proximity. We need those face coverings to make sure that everyone's safe, but we don't want businesses struggling to find them. So, what are we going to do? We're going to be providing face coverings for free for all businesses that need them. We'll start with 2 million face coverings that we're getting ready right now to deliver to businesses or have them pick up at sites around the city, whatever works better for them. And that work will be done by our Department of Consumer Worker Protection, our Department of Small Business Services, and our Department of Citywide Administrative Services. We'll put together a plan. We'll make it very public how you get these face coverings, or again, if businesses need them delivered, we'll deliver them. We want businesses to succeed, and having one less thing to worry about will make it a little easier, and it will make sure that health and safety is guaranteed. 

Now, we're hearing a lot from small businesses about other things they need and we're working on that too. And I’ll have more to say in the coming days. A lot of them talked about it's hard to find enough cleaning supplies, and cleaning supplies they can afford. There'll be effective, enough disinfectants. We're working on ways to make sure there is a supply available at a price that businesses can afford. We'll have more to say on that as well in the next few days.

So, the businesses have to restart. They have to restart strong. But now let's talk about working people. Let's talk about the backbone of New York City. The people who do the work. People want their livelihoods back, but they know they have to stay safe, and they especially, I hear it all the time, they want to protect their families. They want to make sure they go back to work, and restore their livelihoods, which their families need, that they don't inadvertently bring the disease home. So, we have to be there for working people, making sure that they have what they need to be safe. Now, this is going to involve, of course, working with the businesses, making sure they're following those rules, making sure the businesses have what they need to keep workers safe. But we want to hear the voices of working people, so we're going to have teams we send out to talk to employees directly, to talk to working people led by our department of consumer, and worker protection. We'll make sure there's signage of at workplaces. Workers have every right to be safe when they return to work. Workers need to know where to turn if there is a problem, and that's what the city will provide. A helping hand to working people to make sure that every business treats them right during this restart.

Anybody who either has a question, a concern, wants to know how to handle a situation at work or see something wrong or that they want to report, and want to see enforcement on, they can call that hotline. We'll announce the specifics next week. It'll be run by our Department of Consumer and Worker protection. We want to make sure that any working person who experiences a problem or a challenge knows where to turn to protect themselves, and their families, and their rights.

Okay. Now, talk about working people. This is part of what makes New York City so strong and so great, and our human services workforce, they've been heroes throughout this crisis, and we have to be there for them as well. So, we have so many different organizations. They work with our Administration for Children's Services, our Department of Health. They work with our Department of Social Services, our Department of Youth and Community Development. All of these homeless, excuse me, all of these nonprofit organizations, what kinds of things they do? They work on mental health, they work on homeless outreach, they work with young people, they do foster care – so many important, and crucial services this city needs. Well, we know that a lot of the people that do this work come from the communities that have been hardest hit by this pandemic. And we want to protect these folks that are not only members of the New York community, but they are people that make New York better, and stronger, and they protect other New Yorkers.

So, starting next week, we will have a testing initiative focused particularly on nonprofit staff. And we have a target of reaching 31,000 nonprofit staff. It's voluntary. People have a choice of if they want to participate, but we'll provide, we'll be providing up to 4,000 tests per day focused specifically on the nonprofit sector. We'll be doing it at Health and Hospitals, community sites. We'll give priority starting Monday. Another priority will be for nonprofit workers. So, anyone who's interested in getting one of those tests, and works in one of our nonprofits, you can go to And we want to make sure that if you need a test, you get a test. I’ll also say that there will be mobile testing sites set up focusing on these nonprofits starting June 15th. So, they'll go right to the workplaces of a lot of our nonprofit workers, and then the nonprofits themselves will start to provide testing in July. We'll provide all of the material they need, the PPE’s, the test kits, and they'll be able to do their own testing starting in July.

So, as I've gotten to know the cure violence movement, I've been so impressed by what it means not only for stopping violence, but what it means about communities creating their own leadership to solve their own problems. And the City of New York needs to support that because it's the right thing to do and it works. Well, right now, in the middle of this horrible challenge with the coronavirus, it's become clearer and clearer that a cure violence movement can be such an important part of fighting back this disease cure violence is the original concept, but it also has so much to say about community leaders and community members coming together to solve a range of problems. It's not that cure violence can share the virus, but cure violence can help to contain the disease, can help to push it back in neighborhoods by educating people, giving them the tools they need, helping people to hear what's the right thing to do from trusted community voices. So, our racial and include racial equity and inclusion task force, which has been set up inside the city government representing a whole range of city agencies has been working on the issue of what's the fullest use we can make of the cure violence movement. We have now 20 or so community partner organizations we'll be working with in this effort, and one example was on Monday when I went to Queensbridge houses, largest public housing development in New York City. Here is a place, again, biggest public housing development in the city and has had an extraordinary turnaround in terms of reducing violence and that shows us how much more could be achieved by this movement. Right now, we've got 150 cure violence organization workers out in communities, educating people, reminding them, giving them warnings about issues like social distancing, face coverings, giving out the face coverings for free. We're now going to more than triple that, we're adding 375 more cheer violence workers to this effort. The title they will be given is social distance enhancers, it's a great phrase, social distance enhancers. They'll be starting in the next week or so, building out through June, and this means 10 to 15 new staff at each site deep into communities and having a big impact through the summer into September. We're also going to do a great a public awareness campaign at the same time or partnering with an extraordinary organization called Art Not War. And they have done a really profound work on, many of you may have seen the work they did related to the people's climate March. 

We know that our seniors have been the most vulnerable in this crisis and we know that folks who are lower income and have had less access to healthcare because tragically healthcare has been about how much money you have, not about your humanity, that's the history of this country. The coronavirus has been a particular threat to you, and all of those realities come together with our seniors who live in public housing in NYCHA. We made a commitment that we were going to help a number of seniors in addition to their health needs, keeping their buildings clean, getting them face coverings, doing everything we could to protect them where they lived. We wanted to also enhance their life because a lot of them are feeling really isolated, we want to connect them to the world around them to make sure that during this crisis they were getting the help they needed. So, 10,000, 10,000 internet enabled tablets have been sent out to NYCHA seniors. 10,000 seniors will benefit because they will now be able to get the information they need, the support they need, the connection to their families delivered to over a hundred sites across the five boroughs and this is not just about that human connection in that way of fighting isolation. It's also about telemedicine, so important to making sure that our seniors get supported by clinicians without having to leave their home. The tablet is a lifesaver. Being able to see family and talk to them, that's really exciting. At least I know everybody is okay and they know I'm okay. Isn't that the most basic that every family wants to feel, I know it as a parent. All of us know it. The first thing you want to know is, is your family okay? And these tablets are helping our seniors to feel that comfort and move forward through this crisis.

There's other things happening and one of them is there's an election coming up. This is a big important election year and there's an election coming up in just a matter of weeks. The New York primary is happening at toward the end of June and today is the last day to register to vote for the New York primary. 

Finally, let's turn to the indicators and thresholds. So, number one, daily number of people admitted to hospitals for suspected COVID-19. So, remember, need that threshold to be under 200 patients admitted per day today, 61 patients, very good number. Now on the daily number of people in health and hospitals, ICU threshold needs to be under a hundred, excuse me, under 375 this today is really good news. Congratulations cause again this is all your hard work paying off, we needed to get below 375 as of today, 391 we are on the gateway to getting below that threshold and staying there. So, this is really fantastic news and as they say on the late-night advertisements, but wait, there's more. This is the best of all, I would say the percentage of people tested citywide who are positive for COVID-19 we have to stay under the 15 percent threshold. Everyday we've seen progress in recent weeks today, the lowest we've ever seen, 5 percent testing positive. And how profound that is when you think about the fact that testing is growing and growing and growing all the time, we're getting more and more New Yorkers tested and the percentage is going down, what a good sign this is. So, congratulations everyone, this is putting us well on the way to our goal of in the first half of June. Well done, New York City.