Hundreds of current and former city staffers who worked for de Blasio took to the steps of City Hall to denounce the mayor's record as the police reformer and to demand real change, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported.
It was probably not as embarrassing as being booed at the George Floyd memorial, but it may be one reason he took the Fifth when Kramer asked the mayor what in the NYPD's $6 billion budget was on the chopping block.
"Mr. Mayor, this is the first time since you've been mayor that you decided to cut the Police Department's budget. I wonder if you can tell me how much you're going to reallocate, what exactly is going to be reduced, and what exactly what you're going to put the money towards?" Kramer asked.
"Marcia, I'm looking you in the eye and the answers is, no, not today. They will, because in the next three weeks in negotiations with the City Council we're going to decide the budget for this city" de Blasio said. "I'm not answering you today."
"Any members of the City Council, as well as the protesters, have called for a $1 billion cut. Is that in the realm of reality?" Kramer asked.
"No, no, no, but something substantial," the mayor responded.
A promise to slash funds to the police has put the mayor between a rock and a hard place because it comes as the NYPD is dealing with a significant spike in crime.
The latest stats show:
- A 133% increase in murder (42 last month, compared to 18 in May 2019).
- A 44% hike in shootings (136 last month, 94 in 2019).
CBS2 urban affairs expert Mark Peters said the mayor won't talk about details because he has no idea what to do yet.
"What I suspect is this is is not a careful analysis but rather a political decision after being booed off stage at the memorial service, after losing the support of many of his own senior staff," Peters said.
There is also the possibility that the word "defund" means different things to different people. The mayor may think it means just taking $124 million from the NYPD for summer youth employment program. Others think it requires millions more for social justice and community programs.
Police budget cuts are a hot button topic for everyone, the mayor, and the City Council, so it will take a while to work out the details.
The budget is due on June 30 if it's done on time.
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