Cuomo on George Floyd's death: 'How many times do we have to learn the same lesson?'

Cuomo on George Floyd's death: 'How many times do we have to learn the same lesson?'
© Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoNYT editorial board remembers Ginsburg: She 'will forever have two legacies' New York to honor Ginsburg with statue in Brooklyn New York City bus driver knocked out by passenger he told to wear a mask MORE (D) on Thursday addressed the killing of George Floyd, a black man, by police in Minneapolis, saying he sees it as similar to the 2014 killing of Eric Garner on Staten Island.

“I think the situation was so disturbing and ugly,” Cuomo said of Floyd's killing during his daily press briefing. ”And frankly, it was just frightening that a law enforcement officer anywhere in this country could act that way, especially after everything we’ve learned. Sometimes you rationalize, in your own mind, you say ‘well, this is terrible, but we’ll learn from it.’ How many times do we have to learn the same lesson?”

An officer arresting Floyd on Monday pinned him face-down to the pavement with a knee on the back of his neck while Floyd pleaded that he was unable to breathe. Floyd was pronounced dead at a hospital about 90 minutes later.


“We went through it in New York, we had the Garner case in New York, it’s happened all across the country. How many times do you have to learn the same lesson?” Cuomo continued.

Garner was killed by an officer who applied a chokehold while attempting to arrest him for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. Garner, like Floyd, was recorded saying “I can’t breathe” before his death.

The arresting officers were never criminally charged but the officer who applied the chokehold, Daniel Pantaleo, was dismissed from the NYPD in 2019 after a disciplinary hearing.

Cuomo, the former state attorney general, joined those suggesting the officers who arrested Floyd should be criminally charged, echoing Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey (D). All four have been fired. “I was a prosecutor, I don’t prejudge a case, maybe there are facts that I don’t know, but I will tell you if I was prosecutor, I would be looking at that case from the first moment, because I think there’s a criminal case,” Cuomo said.