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Gov. Cuomo Draws Line Between Protesters And Criminals Exploiting Movement To Cause More Chaos

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Gov. Andrew Cuomo drew a distinction Tuesday between the protesters who are outraged about the killing of George Floyd and the criminals who are exploiting the movement.

The governor said he supports the protesters who, by and large, have been peaceful.

"That is what this nation is all about. The right to protest, the right to air grievances, and the right to raise issues so government responds," he said Tuesday.

But those who are inciting violence, causing destruction and looting are a separate story, he said.

"They have no right to wrap themselves in the flag of righteous indignation of Mr. Floyd's murder," he said. "They demean Mr. Floyd's murder by using this as an opportunity for criminal activity."

Cuomo said the NYPD must do more to protect the people and property of New York City.

WATCH: Gov. Andrew Cuomo Addresses Protests And Looting In New York City 

Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked who these agitators are and where they're coming from.

"We're seeing the same pattern in a number of cities – a mix of people in that city and outside. To some extent organized, to some extent trained or sharing protocols – negative, violent protocols for how to create mayhem, how to create chaos, how to get it on video, how to attack police officers. We're seeing such a clear pattern, anyone who doesn't see that isn't looking very hard," he said.

He said gang members were part of the problem Monday in the Bronx.

"I don't know if they were organized by anyone but their own gang to do harm to their neighborhood," he said. "We see people [who are] just common criminals. Yes, that exists in our society. Some people are just career criminals. We saw some of them out looting in Midtown."

De Blasio praised demonstrators for rooting out bad apples in their ranks and called on community leaders to keep the peace.

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