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5 Jun, 2020 01:44

‘They don’t do that’: Governor Cuomo denies NYPD brutalized peaceful protesters despite video evidence

‘They don’t do that’: Governor Cuomo denies NYPD brutalized peaceful protesters despite video evidence

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo denied accusations that New York City police officers have used batons against people peacefully protesting against the death of George Floyd, even though multiple videos show them doing so.

During a press briefing on Thursday, Cuomo called the allegations “incendiary rhetoric,” asking the reporter who brought them up: “Do you think there’s any sensible police officer who believes their job is bludgeoning a peaceful person with a baton?”

“It’s not a fact! It’s not even an opinion! That is a hyper-partisan rhetorical attack!” he continued, adding that NYPD officers “don’t do that.”
While the governor doubled down on the denials of police brutality, several videos circulating on social media, some going viral, suggest otherwise. For example, a video captured by filmmaker Josh Fox on Wednesday of motorists “witnessing NYPD beat up folks” received millions of views.

After the governor’s comments became public, the internet was eager to help him discern “facts” from “opinions” and “rhetorical attack” by pointing out even more widely-shared videos.

“Pepper spray, batons, and several arrests,” is how journalist John Campbell reported what he saw in Brooklyn at the beginning of the protests.

Noah Goldberg of New York Daily News also captured a protest where “people started getting hit — really hit — and arrested.”

Jake Offenhartz, a reporter for the local outlet Gothamist, filmed NYPD charging at what he described as the “definition of a peaceful protest.”

Cuomo’s comments have prompted backlash not just from journalists, but also from activists. Football player for the NFL’s LA Chargers Justin Jackson was quick to accuse the governor of “lying with a straight face.”

Progressive talk show host John Iadarola shared a video taken by his colleague Jordan Uhl, calling on Cuomo to “respond.”

Vice photographer Nate ‘Igor’ Smith said that he was attacked by the police.

George Floyd, an African-American man, died after a Minneapolis, Minnesota police officer kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes while arresting him last week. Protests over the incident quickly spread from Minnesota across the US, including to New York City.

While daytime gatherings have been mostly peaceful, nights have been marked by looting, rioting, and arson, which the NYPD has not been able to contain. US President Donald Trump has urged governors to use the National Guard and even regular army troops, but Cuomo has so far refused to do so.

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