New York Lawmakers Cut $1 Billion From NYPD Budget

New York Lawmakers Cut $1 Billion From NYPD Budget
Protesters face off with NYPD officers in Brooklyn, N.Y., on June 17, 2020. (Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)
Zachary Stieber

The New York Police Department (NYPD) will see $1 billion less in funding in the upcoming fiscal year, the New York City Council announced early Wednesday.

Lawmakers reached an agreement that includes $837 million in cuts and transfers to the NYPD expense budget, according to a statement from the council.

“When combined with associated costs, these cuts remove $1 billion from the NYPD’s spending,” it said. “This was a hard-fought battle, which marks the beginning of the Council’s efforts to not only limit the size and scope of the NYPD, but also reimagine how we structure criminal justice and public safety in this city.”

“We recognize that the City must move away from failed racist policing polices of the past,” added Councilman Daniel Dromm, a Democrat who chairs to Finance Committee.

The budget passed 32-17.

Protesters gather at an encampment outside City Hall in New York, N.Y., on June 30, 2020. (John Minchillo/AP Photo)
Protesters gather at an encampment outside City Hall in New York, N.Y., on June 30, 2020. (John Minchillo/AP Photo)

The reduction breaks down to nearly $484 million in cuts, $354 million in shifts to other agencies that lawmakers say are better positioned to carry out some duties that have fallen to police, and a movement of $500 million in capital costs from the NYPD capital budget.

Two of the four incoming classes of recruits were axed, which will reduce headcount by 1,163 uniformed officers. The city is also removing the NYPD from the crossing guard program, school safety, and homeless outreach.

The NYPD, which received $6 billion in fiscal year 2020, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York, which represents over 50,000 active and retired police officers, shared a story on social media of a 21-man-year-old being shot dead this week.

On the same day the budget was slashed, “Dante Sartillian was murdered on a Queens street and eleven other New Yorkers were shot, including six shot in Brooklyn IN A SINGLE HOUR,” the police union said.

“This is the city our elected officials have chosen.”

There were 250 shooting victims from June 1 to June 28, according to the NYPD, an increase of nearly 160 percent from the same period last year.
NYPD officers in the Crown Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y., on June 3, 2020. (Scott Heins/Getty Images)
NYPD officers in the Crown Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y., on June 3, 2020. (Scott Heins/Getty Images)

The police union said before the vote that fewer officers would make the city unsafe for all.

Acting Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Ken Cuccinelli said in an open message to NYPD officers on Wednesday that his agency would love to have them if New York City doesn’t want them.

“Come join our team, where you will be appreciated by your political leadership instead of being belittled and treated like you are the problem instead of part of the solution,” he said, sharing information for how to apply.

New York City Council Minority Whip Joseph Borelli, one of the lawmakers who voted against the budget, said in a video statement: “We know that what we’re doing will create a more violent city, and yet we’re doing it anyways.”

“We’re making these cuts to appease a fraction of far-left New Yorkers,” he alleged.

The passage in the early hours of Wednesday came as protesters continued occupying a park just across the street from City Hall in Lower Manhattan.

Demands put forth by the group include defunding the police, removing police officers from school, and repealing laws “criminalizing survival.”

Protesters told reporters that they feel the $1 billion in cuts are not enough.

Richard Buery Jr., a former aide to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, agreed, saying on social media: “These aren’t real cuts to the NYPD & don’t reflect a fundamental shift in the nature of policing in NYC. I am not saying ‘no police.’ But we need a new approach to policing. This budget was an opportunity to begin that journey. It fails to do so.”

De Blasio, a Democrat, told reporters at a virtual press conference that the vast majority of New Yorkers want a safe city and a fair city.

“They want a safe city and they want a fair city. They appreciate that our police are there to keep us safe, and they want to see policing to get fairer and more respectful,” he said.

“They believe in the NYPD, they want to see the NYPD improve in some ways. But Lord knows, they want to know that when they call for a police officer to help them, that that officer will be there.”

Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news. Contact Zachary at [email protected]
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