New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has called for a national ban on excessive force by police and announced a curfew for New York City following violent protests triggered by the death in Minneapolis of an unarmed black man in police custody.
In a joint statement on Monday, Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city of eight million people would be under curfew from 11pm Monday night until 5 am the next morning. They said police would double their numbers to stem violence and property damage.
At an earlier briefing, Cuomo said he worried that demonstrations in the most populous US city in response to George Floyd's death could cause a spike in coronavirus infections.
He called on citizens to push politicians to make changes to improve society. He also urged independent investigations of police abuse.
Images from overnight showed looters ransacking a pharmacy and breaking into several luxury stores in Manhattan's SoHo neighbourhood after a day of protests across the city that led to hundreds of arrests.
"It's not enough to come out and say 'I'm angry, I'm frustrated,'" Cuomo said. "The protesters are making a point. But you have to add the positive reform agenda."
Cuomo said some actions by New York City police officers during the protests were disturbing, citing a video widely shared online that showed a police car driving into a crowd and another showing a demonstrator getting pepper sprayed.
At the same time, Cuomo railed against those exploiting the protests to loot and vandalise. He echoed other political leaders in saying that outsiders were often the instigators of violence, which would play into the hands of people eager to block progressive change.
Cuomo said the unrest could complicate the city's plans to start reopening on June 8.
Australian Associated Press