Contact: Kristine Mikkelsen

Community Groups, Advocates and City Council Members Rally to Demand NYC Budget Justice

Call for Cuts to NYPD Press Budget, Disband SRG, Hiring Freeze of School Cops and Removal of NYPD from Mental Health Response

Today, Communities United for Police Reform’s NYC Budget Justice Coalition along with NYC Council Members Alexa Avilés, Tiffany Cabán, and Shahana Hanif rallied at City Hall to call for an FY25 city budget that increases investments in community services, mental health, education and other vital programs for New Yorkers, and reduces the outsourced size, scope and bloated budget of the NYPD.  

Mayor Eric Adams’ proposed FY25 budget includes significant staffing and budget cuts to crucial agencies, services, and infrastructure which undermines efforts to produce real public safety for all New Yorkers. At the same time, his proposed budget continues to shield the NYPD from budget cuts and proposes to further expand their funding in some areas, including but not limited to increasing school cops and increasing funding for the notoriously abusiveg Strategic Response Group (SRG). 

"Mayor Adams’ budget has consistently rewarded the NYPD  for violence and abuse while cutting investments in critical services that actually make our city safer,” said Ileana Mendez-Peñate, Program Director with Communities United for Police Reform. The mayor gives the NYPD what amounts to preferential treatment in the budget despite the the NYPD’s hyper-militarized response and brutality at Pro-Palestine protests on college campuses and across the city, social media attacks by NYPD leadership on journalists and members of the NYC Council, and the horrific killing of Win Rozario by officers in his own home after he called 911 for help during a mental health crisis. "Safe communities require deep investments in city agencies and programs that support New Yorkers, not expanding the budget of the NYPD that violently criminalizes and abuses us.”

"The City Council must use all their resources and firepower to make sure that NYC's adopted budget is one that reflects community care and safety, not over-policing our communities. Young people deserve well-funded quality schools, libraries, and parks. This will never happen if we continue to inflate the NYPD's budget at the expense of these institutions," stated Donavon Taveras, Lead Organizer, El Puente.

At the rally, NYC Budget Justice Coalition members made the following demands: 

  • Cut the NYPD’s press/communications budget by at least 50%, including Deputy Commissioner of Public Information and other NYPD press/communications infrastructure and programs.
  • Remove NYPD from mental health response
  • Freeze hiring of school police and cut funding for remaining vacant school positions, including canceling the addition of 400 new school cop positions. 
  • Disband the NYPD Strategic Response Group (SRG) and eliminate the use of hyper-aggressive escalating tactics.
  • Block attempts to add 1,200 additional officers in FY25 and instead invest those monies to fund help keep jobs in schools, mental health programs, libraries, composting, and non-police anti-violence programs.

"We need budget justice for Andre Mayfield, Win Rozario and every other New Yorker who has been shot dead by an NYPD officer in the midst of suffering an acute mental health crisis," said Council Member Tiffany Cabán. "When our neighbors are mentally decompensating, we need to dispatch a worker who is chiefly trained to make clinical determinations and deliver care, not a worker who is chiefly trained to assess threats and neutralize them with violent force. Underfunding our mental healthcare infrastructure and overfunding our systems of punishment and incarceration is budget injustice. Enough is enough. It’s time to move away from treating policing and punishment as the answer to every social ill from poverty to mental illness to community violence, and toward evidence-based, data-driven solutions like social housing, robust mental health services, violence prevention programs, and good jobs with good pay. That is what we mean when we say budget justice."

“I am proud to join Communities United for Police Reform in demanding a just budget that prioritizes true community safety over NYPD bloat,” saidCouncil Member Shahana Hanif. “At a time when our social service agencies are unable to process benefits applications due to staffing shortages, why are 86 staff members assigned to do the NYPD’s PR work? Following the militarized crackdowns by the Strategic Response Group on peaceful protests this spring, why are we increasing funding to this notoriously violent and unaccountable unit? After the killing of Win Rozario, why are we cementing NYPD’s role as the primary responders for mental health crises? Our city needs investments in critical services that New Yorkers count on, not an expansion of Mayor Adams’s dangerous pet projects.

“250 social media accounts run by 86 staffers, that’s what the NYPD Public Relations department is working with today, and they use these social media accounts to attack journalists and city council members who dare to ask questions of their actions,” said James Inniss, Public Safety Campaigner at New York Communities for Change. “This version of Newspeak may have worked in the book 1984 but it’s 2024 and it doesn’t work on us  NYers.  We don’t live in a dystopian novel, this  real life, this is propaganda, and propaganda  is always bad, especially when it comes from law enforcement” 

“New Yorkers are looking for leadership to support the health and stability of our communities. Yet, the Mayor continues to use the same failed playbook: more funding for police, less funding for community-based services,” said Toni Smith, New York State Director at Drug Policy Alliance. “Last year there were nearly 1,800 incidents of police violence involving people in mental distress and rates of violence during these interactions continue to rise. Our city budget must invest in non-police responses and care, not fund the displacement and brutality of New Yorkers.”  


About Communities United for Police Reform

Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory policing practices in New York, and to build a lasting movement that promotes public safety and reduces reliance on policing. CPR runs coalitions of over 200 local, statewide and national organizations, bringing together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change. The partners in this campaign come from all 5 boroughs, from all walks of life and represent many of those most unfairly targeted by the NYPD.

Topics: NYC Budget Justice