(feature photo provided by Jessica Parmiter)
The nationwide protests over the death of Minnesota resident George Floyd reached home this weekend, with demonstrations taking place in Homer on Saturday and more planned today in Cortland.
Demonstrations in the city are planned for 3:00 this afternoon in Courthouse Park according to a Facebook event created this weekend. Some protesters were already reported to have shown up before 11:00 this morning.
On Saturday, dozens held up signs along Main Street in Homer and chanted their support while vehicles passed by and honked their horns. Peaceful gatherings also took place in Ithaca, Auburn and Oswego.
In Syracuse, it was a different picture.
Protests boiled over on Saturday night and eventually led to Mayor Ben Walsh issuing a State of Special Emergency that installs a curfew prohibiting anyone from public places between 8pm and 7am.
That also applies to vehicular traffic, however Walsh said it could end as soon as tonight (Monday).
WXHC asked Cortland Mayor Brian if he’ll make an address at this afternoon’s demonstrations.
“If I am asked to speak I will, but this is an opportunity for others to have their voices heard,” Tobin said.
Governor Cuomo said this weekend that he stands with the protesters, but doesn’t condone any violence.
“The real issue is the continuing racism in this country and it is chronic and it is endemic and it is institutional and it speaks to a collective hypocrisy,” Governor Cuomo said. “Our challenge today is to use this moment, use this energy constructively and demand real positive change. And articulate what the change is that we want. George Floyd must not have died in vain. Mr. Floyd’s killing must be a moment in which this nation actually learned and grew and progressed to make this place a better place.”
At the request of local officials, Cuomo has deployed additional State Police officers to Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany in advance of planned protests in those cities.
He says State Police are ready to help other municipalities in need, as well. The National Guard is also on standby.
However, the governor is facing some backlash in his response to the protests by the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association, which sent an open letter sent yesterday expressing disappointment with Albany.
The letter, penned by union president Thomas Mungeer, accuses Cuomo and the state legislature of offering “zero support” for State Police during the recent events.
Part of the text read as follows:
“During this time, your New York State Troopers were detailed to New York City and the aforementioned upstate cities, helping protecting life and property of the millions of citizens who chose not to engage in the criminality of a few. Unfortunately, our top elected officials, members of the state legislature and including you, Governor, have offered zero support for us. Why haven’t you pointed out that the assaultive actions of violent protestors cause a more assertive response from law enforcers?”
Photos of Saturday’s Homer demonstrations sent to WXHC by Jessica Parmiter: