NYC mayor, NY governor vow police reform in wake of George Floyd death

NEW YORK (WABC) -- As protests continue over the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis and amid nationwide calls for police reform, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo are vowing to be agents of change.

Some say all the demonstrations happening both in NYC and across the world are causing dialogue between city officials and activists.

Protesters gathered in Washington Square Park on Wednesday afternoon and marched up 5th Avenue to Bryant Park while hundreds of cyclists rode bikes in Brooklyn on Wednesday -- all continuing their call for reforms.

De Blasio announced he is expanding the Cure Violence program, which helps stop violence through mediation before it happens, to cover 20 police precincts, while Cuomo unveiled what he calls major improvements in policing.

"The most dramatic police reform in the country will happen in New York," he said. "We'll make change and pass legislation this week that I'm going to sign that is going to lead the nation in police reform, releasing disciplinary records, what they call 50a, banning choke-holds, which should have been done a long time ago and that will be in the state law."

Police say shootings are up at a five-year high after the looting and vandalism last week, and this past Monday, seven people were shot in four minutes.

"The Cure Violence movement will now be active in 20 precincts, all 20 precincts with the highest gun violence levels in the city," de Blasio said. "That means lives will be saved, period. Lives will be saved. Violence will be reduced."

City officials say the Cure Violence will be expanded by $10 million, to be used to add more staff and sites across the city and to support organizers and messengers in the neighborhoods who help break the cycle of violence.

The includes Erica Ford, a well known activist and founder of Life Camp, a crisis management system.

"We go into the jails, we go into the schools, we go into the centers where young people hang out," she said. "We help people turn their lives around."

Additionally, the New York Attorney General's Office announced it will investigate the NYPD's interactions with protesters. Former U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch will help guide the investigation to seek answers and accountability.

New York state lawmakers repealed the decades-old law Tuesday that has kept law enforcement officers' disciplinary records secret, while the New York City Council public safety subcommittee met to discuss legislation aimed at police reform as state officials took steps to promote transparency.

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