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Cuomo says Buffalo police video "disturbs your basic sense of decency and humanity"

Cuomo on police video and stopping abuses
Cuomo on Buffalo police video: "It disturbs your basic sense of decency" 09:03

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday that video of an elderly man being pushed to the ground by police in Buffalo, New York, "disturbs your basic sense of decency and humanity." The video shows the man bleeding from his head after hitting the pavement. 

"It's just fundamentally offensive and frightening… Who are we? How did we get to this place?" he said of the video. The governor said he spoke to the man in the video on the phone Friday, adding: "Who, thankfully, is alive."

Two Buffalo officers have been suspended over the incident. Cuomo said he also supports firing the officers, but noted that it is dependent on union rules. 

He added that the District Attorney is looking into criminal liability for the incident, and said he encourages the DA to take swift action so that the same frustration brought on by the initial inaction after George Floyd's death in police custody is not repeated.

After discussing the Buffalo incident, and other recent instances of police actions caught on tape in New York City, Cuomo said New York state "should be at the forefront" of stopping abuse by law enforcement. 

"That has always been New York's legacy, as the progressive capitol. We are the ones who hold the standard of what is the right progressive reform," he said. 

Cuomo said the state is expected to pass the "say their name" reform agenda next week. The agenda is made up of four cornerstones: make police disciplinary records transparent, ban chokeholds, make false 911 calls based on race hate crimes, and give police murder investigations to the state Attorney General.

"(The agenda) comes from the long list of names of people who we have seen who have been abused by police officers, by the criminal justice system," he said. "And Mr. Floyd is just the last name on a very long list."

Cuomo also gave an update on the state's response to the coronavirus pandemic. New York state health officials on Thursday reported the lowest daily number of deaths from the coronavirus — 42 — since the pandemic began. At the peak of the outbreak in the state, about eight weeks ago, more than 800 New Yorkers were dying of COVID-19 each day.

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