Cuomo on George Floyd's Death: 'How Many Times Do We Have to Learn the Same Lesson?'


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) is responding to the death of George Floyd — a black man who died in Minneapolis shortly after he was arrested.

“I think the situation was so disturbing and ugly,” Cuomo said during a press conference on Thursday. “And frankly, it was just frightening that a law enforcement officer anywhere in this country could act that way, especially after everything we’ve learned.”

He continued, “Sometimes you rationalize, in your own mind, you say ‘well, this is terrible, but we’ll learn from it.’ How many times do we have to learn the same lesson?”

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Floyd died on Monday night after a police officer in Minneapolis pinned him to the ground by placing his knee on Floyd’s neck. 

In a video of the incident, Floyd could be heard saying, “Please, please, please, I can’t breathe.”

Cuomo continued to evoke the death 2014 death of Eric Garner in New York City, “We went through it in New York, we had the Garner case in New York, it’s happened all across the country. How many times do you have to learn the same lesson?”

Eric Garner was a black man who died in 2014 after a New York City police officer placed him in a chokehold. In a video of that incident, Garner was heard saying, “I can’t breathe.”

In 2019, the officer who put Garner in a chokehold, Daniel Pantaleo, was fired but the Justice Department declined to bring charges against him. 

“I was a prosecutor, I don’t pre-judge a case, maybe there are facts that I don’t know, but I will tell you if I was prosecutor, I would be looking at that case form the first moment, because I think there’s a criminal case,” Cuomo said of the Floyd incident.

The death of Floyd in Minneapolis has sparked days of protests and officials are calling for the officers involved to be held accountable, as IJR reported.

On Wednesday, Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D) called for the officer who pinned Floyd to the ground to be arrested. 

“Why is the man who killed George Floyd, not in jail?” he asked. 

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“George Floyd deserves Justice. His family deserves Justice. The black community deserves Justice. And our city deserves Justice,” he added.

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