“We have the lowest number of deaths from coronavirus that we have had since this started – 42 people passed yesterday,” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said at a news conference in Albany today.
“While our hearts ache for those families who lost loved ones yesterday, just eight weeks ago we had 800 deaths per day,” Cuomo said.”The people of the state radically changed how they behaved, and look at that progress: lowest number of hospitalizations to date in a matter of weeks. Today’s achievement is proof we know we can change, and we know we can change dramatically when we work together.”
Cuomo announced plans for changes he intends to be pushing with the state Legislature that he has dubbed the “Say Their Name” reform agenda. Cuomo said that it was created as a follow up to the movement that has developed following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police and an ongoing pattern of police brutality against minorities in the U.S. Cuomo said that he wants to see the legislators begin to enact the policies next week.
The “Say Their Name” Reform agenda includes:
- Allowing for transparency of prior disciplinary records of law enforcement officers by reforming section 50-a of the civil rights law;
- Banning chokeholds by law enforcement officers;
- Prohibiting false race-based 911 reports and making them a crime; and
- Designating the state attorney general as an independent prosecutor for matters relating to the deaths of unarmed civilians caused by law enforcement.
“Stopping police abuse vindicates the overwhelming majority, 99.9%, of police who are there to do the right thing. It restores the confidence, the respect and the trust that you need,” Cuomo said.
Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino this afternoon came out in favor of Cuomo’s “Say Their Name” proposal and urged the legislature to move swiftly to pass new laws to support it.
“I am also calling on the legislature to pass reforms to make it easier for municipalities to weed out and dismiss bad police officers,” Scarpino said
“Why? Why? Why was that necessary? Where is the threat? Older gentleman and where was the threat? Then you just walk by the person while you see blood coming from his head,” Cuomo said. “Police officers walked by. It’s just fundamentally offensive and frightening. It’s just frightening. You say, ‘Who are we? How did we get to this place?’”
Cuomo said he applauds both Mayor Byron Brown of Buffalo for quickly suspending the police officers and the district attorney for looking into it from a possible criminal liability point of view.
Statewide there have been a total of 24,175 COVID-19 deaths, according to statistics obtained this afternoon from the state Department of Health.
Deaths that took place in Westchester now total 1,519, with 1,389 Westchester residents falling victim to the virus. The number of Rockland residents who died from the disease is now at 502. The number of Putnam residents killed by the virus is now 61. Orange County deaths total 383. The number of deaths in Dutchess County remained steady at 151.
New York has had 376,208 people test positive for the virus. There were 33,865 cases identified in Westchester, 13,297 in Rockland, 1,270 in Putnam, 10,484 in Orange and 3,984 in Dutchess.