ALBANY — Local, state and federal administrations must make progress on police reforms and political extremism as soon as possible.
That’s the take from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who addressed those issues during a Friday press conference.
Cuomo said no government can tolerate political extremism or criminal insurrection.
He blamed much of the issue on misuse of social media and said the warning signs were abundant.
“What happened in Washington did not just happen overnight, it developed,” Cuomo said. “It starts with ugliness and threats on the internet, anonymous threats. Social media can really be a breeding ground for positive, but also for a lot of hate. Once you start to light fires, don’t be surprised when the fires are out of control.”
Cuomo vowed he will never allow what happened in Washington to happen in New York.
“That was a disgrace to democracy. When you see the ugliness be fomented for selfish political reasons often, everyone should condemn it,” he said.
He urged politicians of every stripe to avoid ugliness, especially on social media.
“Any decent elected official, don’t get ugly and don’t get ugly now when society is so fragile,” Cuomo said.
“Times of extreme pressure show us who we are. Times of extreme pressure reveal who we are as a people. I’ve seen people rise up and really respond to their better angels. New Yorkers, by and large did that, that’s how we beat COVID.”
As for police reforms, Cuomo urged permanent changes by April 1,saying there are some local level governments that are ignoring needed reforms.
He said there must be a balance.
“Problems don’t go away if you deny them, they only mount, they get worse,” he said. “Police have to police, they have to do their job safely. People have to believe they’re being treated fairly. The problem won’t go away.”