New York City will cut some NYPD funding and shift it to social services, mayor says
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city will cut some funding for the NYPD and redirect it to youth and social services. The anticipated budget cuts to the country's largest police force come after more than a week of massive protests demanding an end to police brutality and racial injustice.
De Blasio, a Democrat, announced the cuts and several other changes to police enforcement at his daily press conference on Sunday.
"We're committed to seeing a shift of funding to youth services, to social services, that will happen literally in the course of the next three weeks," he said.
De Blasio did not specify how much NYPD funding would be cut or specifically where the money will go, but he said the details are being negotiated and will be worked out before the city budget deadline on July 1.
On Monday, de Blasio added that a $1 billion cut some protesters have called for is not in the range he's planning. The NYPD currently has a $6 billion budget, which is more than 6% of the city's annual budget.
Other changes de Blasio announced include shifting street vendor enforcement from the NYPD to a civilian agency, and adding new community "ambassadors" to serve as liaisons between police and residents. And he reiterated his push to repeal a law that keeps police officers' personnel records confidential. He said these were only the "first steps to what will be 18 months of making intense change in this city."
"We are moving forward," he said. "We are not waiting for anything or anyone. No one — I say no one — wants to go back to the way things were before."
New York City was already confronting the need to cut billions of dollars from its budget to account for shortfalls caused by the coronavirus crisis, and some of the biggest cuts were planned for services the mayor now suggests could get some NYPD funds. The Department of Education is expected to face the steepest cuts, totaling more than $640 million, and the city also planned to cut about $180 million for summer youth services.
De Blasio's decision comes after he faced criticism for appearing too lenient on the NYPD after several incidents during last week's protests, where officers and demonstrators sometimes clashed. The mayor defended police for pushing back crowds of protesters and said he hadn't seen viral videos of officers roughing up demonstrators or arresting essential workers trying to do their jobs after the city's curfew. When de Blasio spoke at a George Floyd memorial service in Brooklyn, many in the crowd booed or turned their backs on him.
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