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Gov. Andrew Cuomo Says Protests Should Now To Pivot Towards Reconciliation, Enacting Changes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the time has come for protesters to begin thinking about reconciliation and to begin a dialogue with local governments about what the future of policing will look like.

The governor announced a new executive order mandating each local government and police department across the state come up with a plan with community input to reform the department or risk losing state funding.

The order is in addition to the package of police reform legislation he signed into law Friday, the "Say Their Name Reform Agenda Package," which includes:

  • Repeal of 50-A, which will improve transparency of police disciplinary records
  • Ban on chokeholds
  • Makes the state attorney general the special prosecutor in police shootings
  • Makes false, race-based 911 calls a hate crime
  • Mandates the statewide police reform & reinvention collaborative

Cuomo says the new executive order is another opportunity to channel the anger expressed at recent protests into action.

WATCH: Gov. Andrew Cuomo Gives Daily Briefing

"We've seen protests. We've seen the demonstrations. The people of this nation have made their voice heard. They are outraged after Mr. Floyd's murder. The formula that works is demonstration, protests, make your case, then make change, legislate. Institutionalize the point that you were making. And then, reconciliation," Cuomo said. "It's not about protesting for the sake of protesting. It's protesting to make change. The change comes in the legislation, and that's what we have to remember. That's what it mean to be a progressive state. Yes, articulate, and now act. And that's where we are in New York. Now is the time for every community to put pen to paper and enact systemic reform."


Cuomo said the question for local governments and communities now is "what changes to do you want, and what do you want police to look like in the year 2020."

The reforms can be as small or as large as each community agrees to -- anything from staffing to use of force policies to budget.

Topics to be covered, according the governor: What functions should the police undertake? What budget and staffing? What use of force penalty? How should police handle crowd management? What equipment should they have and not have?

WEB EXTRA: See Cuomo's 6/13 Presentation Slides (.pdf)

"That's the function that every community has to go through and that's the function and the process that we outlined in the New York state reform collaborative," Cuomo said. "That's the stage that we're in, in New York. And it's for your community. New York City - you tell us what policing looks like in 2020 in New York City. Nassau County - you tell us what a police department looks like in 2020. Suffolk County, you tell us."

The governor said that the message from government to protesters is "We heard you, you're right, we agree with you protesters, now tell us what the police force should look like, and let's do that over the next nine months."

PHOTO GALLERY: George Floyd's Death Prompts Days Of Protests In NYC

There are some 500 police forces across New York State alone, so the governor says one size does not fit all when it comes to changes.

He wants each force to sit with its local lawmakers and community members and come up with reforms.

The governor said the dialogue is necessary because "no police department can function... if it doesn't have the trust and respect of the community."

Cuomo said the police force is a function of what the community wants.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran addressed the new executive order Saturday.

"We're actually way ahead of that curve. We're doing every one of those things already," she said.

She appeared with the Nassau County police commissioner to announce they're seeking out vendors to design and implement a body camera program for Nassau police officers.

"Body cams have proven to be a valuable tool for promoting transparency, safety and accountability for everyone," Curran said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke about the NYPD police reforms Saturday evening in a live-streamed conversation with local pastors.

"I affirm to you that for the next year and a half, we're gonna use every tool, the city of New York, to bring change and bring it rapidly and energetically, we have to. That's what we're called to do in this moment," de Blasio said. "We have to change the way we police. I know we have proven it can change."

City Council leadership is already calling for $1 billion in cuts to the department's nearly $6 billion budget.

The lawmakers say they can get there in part through reducing uniform headcount through attrition, cutting overtime and shifting responsibilities away from the NYPD.

RELATED STORY: New York City Council Proposes Cutting $1 Billion From NYPD Budget

De Blasio has said he does not believe a $1 billion cut is the way to maintain safety, but he has not publicly offered another number.

"We're going to take money from the NYPD budget, put it into initiatives that help young people, go at the root causes of so many of the challenges of the social services we need," he said.

Retired NYPD sergeant and John Jay College adjunct professor Joseph Giacalone says there are places the NYPD can cut, but reducing the number of uniformed cops shouldn't be one of them.

"Unfortunately, the people that live in high-crime areas are the ones that will probably suffer the most after all of this because of that lack of police response because it's going to slow down the police response if you have less cops. It's as simple as that. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure that out," Giacalone told CBS2's Andrea Grymes.

The sergeant's union says if the City Council is calling for a $1 billion cut, let them have it.

Ultimately the union says they're not taking money from the NYPD, but rather from the safety of New Yorkers.

Under the new executive order, each redesign plan must be enacted into local law by April 1, 2021, or Cuomo says the state will only offer communities funding that is vital to health and human services.

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