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Protesters Occupy Area Outside City Hall Demanding $1 Billion Cut From NYPD Budget

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Protesters occupied City Hall Park for a second night Wednesday.

Protesters gathered at City Hall Park around 5 p.m. Tuesday and stayed there for over 24 hours, CBS2's Ali Bauman reports.

After four weeks of daily marches for police reform, protesters have now planted their feet outside City Hall.


Hundreds of protesters filled the space between City Hall and the Brooklyn Bridge. They intend to stay there until the NYPD's $6 billion budget is reduced with that money reinvested in housing, health care and social services.

"Strong communities make safe communities, and police don't, and so that's what we're fighting for. We're fighting for a drastic change to the way that this city says that it's providing safety but hasn't provided safety," protester Charles Khan said.

While most of the day was peaceful, tensions boiled at times between protesters and police.

Shouting turned into a standoff, ending in both sides agreeing to step back, successfully avoiding injuries and arrests.

"If anything, we know that NYPD does not keep us more safe. They actually put us in more harm and more danger," protester Jonathan Lykes said.

The city budget is due at the end of the month. The City Council is proposing a $1 billion cut to the NYPD's funding.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has said the police budget will be reduced but not by how much.

"We need safety and we need fairness. We need safety and we need justice. We have to do both," de Blasio said.

RELATED STORY: NYC Sees Surge In Shootings As Mayor Balances Calls For Police Reform With Need For Safety

So far this month, the NYPD reports 125 shooting incidents citywide, violence that has not been seen in June since 1996.

"You cannot keep people safe without keeping bad, dangerous people off the streets," Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said.

The police commissioner blames bail reform and the criminal justice system, which has not been fully operating in the pandemic.

"We have thousands of cases where people have been arrested and not even charges brought up against them because they've been deferred," Shea said.

"This is one of those moments in our generation where everything has to shift. Everything has to shift. We can't go back to what it felt like, what it was before COVID hit," Lykes said.

Protesters, meanwhile, have been getting a lot of donations, like food, water, blankets and phone chargers, to help them sustain the sit-in through the week.

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