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Cuomo Dives Into NYC Police Reform Debate, Says De Blasio, City Council Should Go Back To The Drawing Board

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The city's efforts to reform the NYPD have received a stunning rebuke from Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

He called on the mayor and City Council to go back to the drawing board and rewrite the book on police-community relations.

The graffiti scrawled by protesters on public buildings are visible signs of unhappiness with the efforts of Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council to reform the NYPD in the new budget, reported CBS2's Marcia Kramer.

Now Cuomo, seeing the so-called handwriting on the wall, is jumping into the fray, saying the city should redesign the way the NYPD polices communities.

"The police department was not formed in the Bible. 'And God said this shall be the formation of the police department.' The police department is paid for by the taxpayers. They decide what they want, there is no given," Cuomo said.


The governor, who has frequently jumped into the middle of city politics, much to the annoyance of his frenemy Bill de Blasio, said the leaders of the community reform groups should also be at the table with city officials and police to draw up a plan.

"You must start with a blank piece of paper," Cuomo said.

The governor's remarks couldn't have come at a worse time for the mayor. On the day after the budget agreement the mayor found himself defending his decision to balance the need for reform with the need to keep the city safe as gun violence has spiked.

He cut $1 billion from the NYPD budget largely by transferring school safety, crossing guards and homeless outreach functions to other agencies. He insisted the vast majority of New Yorkers "believe in the NYPD."

"They want to see the NYPD improve in some ways, but lord knows they want to know when they call for a police officer to help them that that officer will be there," he said.

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The mayor tried to convince reformers that their demand for NYPD funds be devoted to programs for young people would result in the creation of 115,000 jobs.

"We want our young people to have a positive and productive summer," de Blasio said.

The reformers are just not satisfied. They say they're going to continue the protests and the conversation. They want substantial changes to how communities are policed.

The head of the City Council's Black, Latino and Asian caucus says it is sometimes hard for people who don't live in the community to understand the local policing needs.

"Quality of life is also directly associated with police. So we want the same quality of life and we deserve the same quality of life that everyone else has," said Councilman I. Daneek Miller.

Cuomo wants all the police departments in the state to come up with redesign plans by next year.

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