New York City lawmakers voted Tuesday on budget changes that transferred $ 1 billion from the New York Police Department to programs that help youth and community development, a number that fell short of what many protesters in the city have demanded.
The City Council said in a statement that the city's budget for 2021 will include cuts and transfers of $ 837 million to the spending budget of the New York Police Department (NYPD), which eliminates $ 1 billion of New Police spending York when combined with associated costs. "
The amount was much less than what some protesters demanded. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from New York, previously said that $ 1.5 billion in cuts would not be enough.
“Definancing the police means defining the police. It doesn't mean budget tricks or fun math, "he said. A Twitter user wrote:" This is like putting the New York Police budget in Groucho Marx's glasses and calling it a day. "
Corey Johnson, the speaker of the city council, said: "The Council fought hard to get to where we are, but I know this is just a starting point, not an ending point. We have to go further."
He added that the budget deal "was negotiated with a focus on police reform, youth services and achieving equity, particularly for low-income communities of color."
New York City Council minority whip Joseph Borelli voted no against the budget cuts and said, "Know that what we will do will create a more violent city."
Borelli added that there were "72 shootings just last week, and not a single shot from (a) New York Police Officer."
"We must always have security and we will in this city, but we will also expand both security and equity by reaching out to our youth more deeply than ever before," Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press conference Tuesday. "And that's what this budget is about."
City lawmakers have agreed to withdraw the NYPD funds, but police reform activists are concerned that these funds will be transferred in a way that still benefits the police department.
"To the thousands of New Yorkers who have fought so admirably for budget justice in the past few weeks: We listen to and support them," Johnson said Tuesday. "We recognize that the City must move away from the failed racist police policies of the past."
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A protester camp was set up outside City Hall last week to demand that the city "defuse the police," a movement protesters have been calling for across the country, since the death of George Floyd in late police custody. of May.
Several other cases of police brutality and alleged systemic racism sparked conversation at the national level by US lawmakers trying to implement police reforms.
Protesters calling to "disburse the police" want taxpayer funds to be diverted from police systems to support initiatives that focus on community and youth programs. Activists say the measure would help prevent racial injustice by providing opportunities to disadvantaged communities.
Under the new plan outlined by de Blasio, a recruitment course for 1,200 people scheduled for next month was canceled, school security, crossing guards, and assistance to the homeless will no longer be the responsibility of the New York Police Department. York, and overtime expenses will also be reduced.
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"We must always have security and we will in this city, but we are also going to expand both security and equity by reaching out to our youth more deeply than ever," de Blasio said. "And that's what this budget is about."
Instead, the funds will be diverted to help communities most affected by the coronavirus, as well as summer youth programs that will help 100,000 youth in the city.
"We are acting on that call for justice," de Blasio told reporters. "I think our mission is to redistribute resources to those who need them most."
Other cuts to the New York police budget are reportedly being made. Instead, a new police compound that was supposed to be built in Queens will be a new community center, and broadband Internet service will be available to some public housing units.
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"It was a challenge … figuring out the priorities, it's not easy," de Blasio said, referring to the massive costs incurred by the coronavirus and the reconfiguration of the city's new annual budget.
"Nine billion dollars evaporated, they only disappeared in the course of a few months," the Democratic mayor told reporters, describing the devastating financial effects of the coronavirus.
De Blasio noted that the city would make adjustments to the funds allocated in the event of a disaster, but that the new budget aims to reduce daily costs, such as overtime expenses for police officers who attend court or complete documentation. . Overtime costs alone incurred in the recent George Floyd protests totaled $ 115 million.
The budget agreed Tuesday is $ 88 billion, which is $ 7 billion less than de Blasio had previously proposed before the coronavirus outbreak, and $ 5 billion less than the allocated budget for 2020.
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“We need to think differently about how we support youth in this city. We've made a lot of changes before, but we have to go much further, "de Blasio said." The NYPD will focus on helping young people. "
"Our young people need to be contacted, not watched, contacted."
David Aaro, Edmund DeMarche and The Associate Press of Fox News contributed to this report.