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Cut the NYPD Budget to Fund Recovery from COVID-19: Elected Officials and Police Accountability Advocates Call for NYPD Hiring Freeze, Smaller NYPD Budget, Redirection of Resources to City Agencies that Help Vulnerable New Yorkers

New York, NY –  On a press call today, elected officials joined Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) and Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garnerto call for significant cuts to the NYPD’s nearly $6 billion bloated budget. Cuts to the NYPD's budget can fund a strong and equitable recovery from COVID-19, particularly for Black and other communities of color most impacted by the current pandemic, participants said.

Speakers highlighted how an NYPD hiring freeze, cuts to NYPD’s harmful expansion into social services (including homeless outreach, mental health response, youth services, and social distancing enforcement), and other cuts can free up resources to save and enhance vital services that vulnerable New Yorkers need - without any compromise to public safety.

They discussed how key city agencies crucial for COVID-19 recovery efforts have been starved of resources and targeted with hiring freezes and cuts while the NYPD’s massive budget remains largely untouched and unscrutinized.

CPR called for FY21 NYPD cuts including: Hiring freeze, cancellation of new cadet classes, end to expansion of NYPD into social services, and other non-essential budget areas that are hidden in the NYPD's opaque budget (including the NYPD's massive public relations budget and surveillance technologies).

Elected officials on the press call included: New York City Public Advocate Jumaane WilliamsNew York City Council Members Donovan Richards, Antonio Reynoso, Adrienne Adams, Vanessa Gibson, Carlina Rivera, Carlos Menchaca, Brad Lander, Helen Rosenthal; New York Assembly Members Michael Blake, and Harvey Epstein. CPR members who spoke included Anthonine Pierre of Brooklyn Movement Center, Gwen Carr from the Justice Committee, and Ashley Sawyer of Girls for Gender Equity.

Historically, city government has spent far more on the NYPD than public health, homeless services, youth development, and other services and programs that help vulnerable New Yorkers. That disturbing disparity has continued during Mayor de Blasio’s tenure at City Hall. 

The city's overinvestment in policing and underinvestment in public health, housing, and other critical needs helps explain why COVID-19 has taken such a toll on Black, Latinx and other communities of color, speakers noted today.

“We can’t police our way out of this pandemic. But cutting the NYPD's massive budget can help fund the equitable recovery from COVID-19 that our communities need. The city’s goal should be to make the NYPD smaller, more transparent and less involved in the lives of New Yorkers who need enhanced services and support – not more policing. The NYPD’s continued budget growth is unjustifiable, especially given all the services and support needed for recovery in Black, Latinx and other communities of color hit hardest by COVID-19. Year after year, the NYPD routinely refuses to discipline or fire officers who engage in misconduct, while funding its own harmful and illegitimate expansion into many non-police activities. That’s wrong and needs to change,” said Anthonine Pierre, a leader of Communities United for Police Reform (CPR).

"I stand in solidarity with Communities United for Police Reform in demanding cuts to the NYPD's FY21 budget. It is infuriating and unjust that the NYPD's projected budget decrease in the FY21 exec budget is close to zero while agencies that support our most vulnerable populations face crippling cuts. We need an FY21 budget that prioritizes the well being of New Yorkers and an end to over-policing," said Council Member Antonio Reynoso.

“It is important that we slow spending as we prepare for the inevitable financial impacts of this historic pandemic but we need a holistic approach to the process,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “I find it shameful that we face major cuts to social services and youth programs but the NYPD budget has been protected. The proposed budget would cause an unintended ripple effect in our city and create a perfect storm to further criminalize young people of color.”

"The city is currently experiencing an unprecedented crisis with a loss of 7.4 billion dollars in tax revenue. We understand that hard decisions must be made to balance the budget and to ensure the city can continue to operate, but it should not be at the expense of youth and communities of color. Mayor de Blasio’s proposed plan would significantly cut DYCD’s budget and this decrease in funding would eliminate summer camp, programs and activities, and youth employment. Summer youth employment is not an option, but a necessity for many low-income families. This will have a detrimental impact on teenagers and young adults, while the NYPD’s budget has been left unscathed and only makes up 1% of the cuts. As the Deputy Leader on the Budget Negotiating Team, I will continue to work with my colleagues in the City Council to ensure all agencies experience equitable cuts and that the budget is not balanced on the backs of our most vulnerable populations,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson.

“Budgets are moral documents. The Mayor’s decision to leave the NYPD’s budget largely intact while slashing essential programs like the Summer Youth Employment Program shows where his priorities lay. We should be investing in the future of young New Yorkers, not adding to the ranks of the United States’ largest police force. Cuts to the NYPD budget and a hiring freeze should be put in place so that the economic fallout from this crisis is spread out rather than targeting some agencies over others. In Albany, we must also raise taxes on high income earners to ensure that the city and state can pay for the programs on which New Yorkers rely,” said Assembly Member Epstein.



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: Broken Windows CopWatch NYC Budget Justice