AOC Calls $1B NYPD Budget Cut Insufficient: 'Defunding the Police Means Defunding the Police'
Should the police be defunded?
by Causes | 7.7.20
What’s the story?
- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) blasted an agreement by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) and the Democrat-controlled New York City Council to cut the New York Police Dept. (NYPD) budget by $1 billion (from $6B to $5B) as falling short of the goals of the “defund the police” movement:
“Defunding the police means defunding the police. It does not mean budget tricks or funny math. It does not mean moving school police officers from the NYPD budget to the Department of Education’s budget so that the exact same police remain in schools. It does not mean counting overtime cuts as cuts, even as NYPD ignores every attempt by City Council to curb overtime spending and overspends anyways. It does not mean hiring more police officers while cutting more than $800M from NYC schools. If these reports are accurate, then these proposed ‘cuts’ to NYPD’s budget are a disingenuous illusion. This is not a victory. The fight to defund policing continues.”
- The budget cut will eliminate an incoming 1,200-person police recruiting class in July (although an October recruiting class will be brought in), reduce overtime spending by half, redeploy officers from administrative to patrol duties, end police involvement in crossing guard programs & homeless outreach. It will also bring an end to NYPD control over public school safety, and de Blasio said the Education Dept. will train civilian school safety agents.
- The $1 billion in funding cuts will be redirected to education, social services in communities impacted by the coronavirus, and summer youth programs.
- The NYPD budget cut comes amid a spike in officers filing for retirement. CBS New York reported that as of June 26th, 233 members of NYPD filed for retirement ― nearly double the same period last year ― while there was a 19% spike in retirements from March-June compared to 2019.
- New York has also seen a sharp increase in violent crime in June to a level that hasn’t been reached since 1996. Shootings during the month of June increased citywide from 89 in 2019 to 205 in 2020, while burglaries also more than doubled year-over-year. The uptick in violence has also been focused on minority communities, as the NYPD said 97% of June’s shooting victims were members of minority communities.
- NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea defended the department’s impact as “overwhelmingly positive” in a letter, and added:
“We know that the people we serve want and need cops in their neighborhoods. And while poorly-conceived and -written laws absolutely will make our work more difficult, they will never stop us from fulfilling our core mission.”
- The debate over police budget cuts will soon reach the U.S. House of Representatives. Ocasio-Cortez’s colleagues and fellow members of the so-called “Squad”, Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) & Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) are planning to introduce a bill that would eliminate federal grant programs for law enforcement & corrections, and redirect those funds to other purposes.
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: nrkbeta via Flickr / Creative Commons)
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