New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Sunday that he would be shifting funds away from the police. The announcement comes after the “defund the police” movement gained some traction last week following the nationwide George Floyd protests.
Mayor de Blasio said New Yorkers “need to be reached, not policed.”
“We committed to move resources from the NYPD to youth and social services as part of our City’s budget,” de Blasio wrote on Twitter. De Blasio added that the city can cut funds to the NYPD while still keeping the city safe.
“We will be moving funding from the NYPD to youth initiatives and social services,” the mayor said at a press conference on Sunday. “This is a transformative moment, so the actions today are a beginning.”
“The details will be worked out in the budget process in the weeks ahead. But I want people to understand that we are committed to shifting resources to ensure that the focus is on our young people,” de Blasio said. “I also will affirm we will only do it in a way that is certain to continue the city will be safe.”
The Democratic mayor introduced reforms including repealing state privacy laws that shield disciplinary records of police officers, creating a civilian-controlled agency that handles vendor enforcement, and hiring “community ambassadors” who will act as liaisons between the police force and civilians.
The reforms were suggested by the mayor’s task force on racial inclusion, which is co-chaired by de Blasio’s wife, first lady Chirlane McCray.
“I am also launching the City Task Force on Racial Inclusion and Equity, focusing on confronting health disparities, specific needs in communities of color and breaking down structural racism,” de Blasio said in April.
The mayor did not reveal how much money would be redistributed. The NYPD’s budget was $5.9 billion in 2019.
Last week, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer called for $1.1 billion to be cut from the NYPD budget over four years, $265 million annually. To cut the budget, Stringer advised suspending hiring new police officers, cut overtime by 5%, and trim Other than Personnel Services by 4%.
“Breaking down structural racism in New York City will require long-term, lasting change — and that must include reducing the NYPD’s budget. If our budget is a reflection of our values, it is unconscionable that services for Black and Brown New Yorkers are on the chopping block while the NYPD’s budget remains almost entirely untouched,” Stringer wrote in a letter to de Blasio.