Emotions ebb and flow, peak and crater. Look no farther than New York City for evidence of that statement.
What a difference 24 hours makes. City streets were largely calm Tuesday night. It was a much different picture from Monday night as rioting, looting and vandalism tore the city asunder in the wake of the police-involved death of 46-year-old George Floyd of Minneapolis.
Peaceful protests, rallies, demonstrations and overnight violence raged in U.S. cities including Albany for several days starting late last week after Floyd died facedown on the street on Memorial Day when a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes.
Speaking of emotions, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s frustrations turned to praise a day after Cuomo slammed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York Police Department’s response to civil unrest in the city, accusing the mayor and law enforcement administrators of not doing their jobs to prevent widespread looting and property damage.
Protests such as the rally in Hudson are issue-oriented and place the focus on the horror and injustice that occurred in Minneapolis.
Wanton destruction such as that we saw in Albany and New York City is chaotic criminal behavior by people trying to exploit a tragedy at this moment for their own purposes.
More than 700 people were arrested and charged in connection with attacking police officers, looting and other criminal activities Monday into Tuesday that destroyed dozens of Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan businesses. A citywide curfew remains in effect each night from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m. through Sunday.
A curfew is as necessary here as a phased-in opening of the state’s economy is necessary to cope with the COVID-19 outbreak. The governor rightly suggested that an outbreak of violence is just as destructive and life-threatening as an outbreak of disease.
We’ll see if Floyd’s senseless death is wasted and we’ll know, maybe sooner than later, if all Americans will play a key role in combating institutionalized racism. We can’t look the other way any longer.