The New York City Council announced a budget cut proposal for the New York City Police Department (NYPD) late on Friday. The council members have pledged to slash NYPD's budget by a staggering $1 billion. The step was taken in the light of protests raging throughout the country against police brutality and institutional racism.
In a statement released on Friday, the council members stated that over the last few weeks, they have seen an "outpouring of New Yorkers demanding change from their leaders" and it is their responsibility to listen and act. Stating further on the "unprecedented reduction", the members stated that it will "not only limit the scope of the NYPD", but will also show the council's "commitment towards moving away from the failed policing policies of the past".
The members identified savings areas, which included "reducing uniform headcount through attrition, cutting overtime, shifting responsibilities away from the NYPD, finding efficiencies and savings in OTPS spending, and lowering associated fringe expenses", the statement read. Although the goal is "ambitious", it is the time for taking such calls, both the NYC and nationwide, the members said.
NYPD's original budget is $6 billion, which has to be approved by June 30, Politico reported. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio supported the decision of slashing NYPD's budget. In a statement on Sunday, he called out the funding to be diverted towards youth programs and social services within the minority communities.
The Police Benevolent Association's (PBA) President Patrick J. Lynch opposed the council's decision. He said that for decades, each time a city agency has failed at a task, it has been given to the NYPD. And if they want to give the responsibilities back to those "failing agencies", they will have to bear the blame for every victim "in need of help who falls through the crack", Lynch said. They won't be able to blame the cops anymore, he added.
Protests are flaring in the United States against police brutality, with calls to defund and dismantle the police made in several states. The NYC Council member's decision came a few days after Minneapolis council members pledged to dismantle the city's police department.