BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Baltimore City residents called for funding cuts to police Thursday during Taxpayers' Night, where citizens can weigh in with the City Council on how their money is being spent.
The City Council still needs to finalize and vote on the City's $4 million dollar budget set forth by the Mayor, which includes $560.4 million allocated to police. The council must approve the budget by the end of June, but it hears from residents before doing so.
Thursday night, the focus was on cutting the funding for police and spending that money elsewhere.
"If spending on police made us safer, then Baltimore would be one of the safest places in the United States," said Dr. Jerry Fitzgerald to the Council Thursday night. "Baltimore police get over 500 million dollars a year and we're going to give them even more money?"
Residents called on the City Council to lessen next year's police budget.
"We keep giving them more money, expecting them to solve all our problems," said Rob Ferrell of Organizing Black. Ferrell helped organize a rally before the City Council meeting outside City Hall, where they handed out fliers with more information about defunding police."
This budget is $5 million more than last year's police budget.
"Baltimore City residents pay $956 per capita for police, more than anywhere else in America," said Leanna Harrison, Research Policy Analyst for CASA Baltimore.
Elementary School teacher Djerae Lucas pushed for some of the police's budget to be put towards schools. "Our students deserve a lot more," she said.
But Council members like Eric Costello (District 11) said while the budget is a lot of money, "we also have pregnant women being executed and we have seventeen-year-old kids that go to their junior prom and are getting murdered...making cuts to the police department when we have the level of violence that we have in this city is pretty irresponsible."
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