New York mayor Bill de Blasio has agreed to $1 billion in cuts to the NYPD as part of the city’s budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
In the midst of massive George Floyd demonstrations and calls by activists to defund the police entirely, de Blasio has faced pressure from City Council members to enact reforms to the department. While initially skeptical, the mayor has agreed to certain cuts to the NYPD’s $6 billion budget ahead of the city’s Tuesday night budget-planning deadline.
New York faces a $9 billion deficit exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. On top of the closures and demonstrations, the city has seen an almost 50-percent increase in shootings in 2020 as compared to the previous year.
“A number of agencies have been cut quite a bit, but we’re dealing with a specific reality with the NYPD, unquestionably,” de Blasio said. “That is because it’s important to show that we’re going to make changes in this city.
As part of the cuts, city officers currently stationed in schools will be transferred to the Education Department, while a July class of roughly 1,100 police recruits will be canceled. De Blasio did not go into details of the plan, which has received criticism from both sides of the political aisle.
“We have caved to the mob in a moment we know will come back to haunt us. The mayor is smart enough to know that these actions will create a more violent environment in New York,” Councilman Joseph Borelli (R., Staten Island) told the New York Post. “This is what you get when you have government-by-hashtag.”
Activist Anthonine Pierre, a spokeswoman for Communities United for Police Reform, said the proposed cuts did not go far enough.
“Mayor de Blasio and Speaker [Corey] Johnson are using funny math and budget tricks to try to mislead New Yorkers into thinking that they plan to meet the movement’s demands for at least $1B in direct cuts,” Pierre told Politico. “This is a lie.”