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Outraged by Rampant Police Brutality, Elected Officials, Families of New Yorkers Killed by NYPD and Racial Justice Leaders Demand Major Cuts to the NYPD to Reduce Violence and Fund Equitable Recovery from COVID-19

New York, NY (June 3, 2020) – Today, Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), the mothers of Ramarley Graham and Mohammad Bah, sister of Delrawn Small and elected officials emphasized why NYPD’s recent, frequent and detestable violence toward NYC communities underscores the urgent need for major cuts to the NYPD. The speakers shared how substantial cuts to NYPD’s bloated $6 billion budget are an essential measure to reduce police brutality and violence. Redirected, these funds can promote a strong and equitable recovery from COVID-19.

Communities United for Police Reform called for at least $1 billion in cuts to the NYPD FY21 budget that begins July 1, 2020 - and is calling for those funds to be redirected to public infrastructure, social safety net, services and core needs for communities most impacted by police brutality and the COVID-19 pandemic, especially Black, Latinx and other communities of color in New York City.

The speakers maintained that the massive amounts of money funding the NYPD’s curfew enforcement only exacerbate inappropriate policing and embolden police violence instead of protecting and addressing the needs of New Yorkers. Several speakers explained how this funding must instead be channeled into enhancing the vital services and social programs that vulnerable New Yorkers need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CPR will release a policy paper on #NYCBudgetJustice in the coming days. These are some of the quotes from speakers at the press event:

“This is a pivotal movement - the City Council has the chance to shift the value of our City’s government away from policing and criminalization and towards fulfilling the needs of our communities during the recovery period. We are calling on them to stand with the families by cutting the NYPD budget by at least one billion dollars.” said Constance Malcom, mother of Ramarley Graham.

"We acknowledge this is a critical moment where our society has the opportunity for a paradigm shift in the ways that we respond to racial terror and keep all communities safe. For decades governments have invested in and expanded the scope of policing, and neglected the institutions needed to help our communities become whole: housing, health care, social services, and public education have been starved for resources. The only way forward is to acknowledge that the institution of policing cannot create and maintain safety for Black, Brown, and poor communities. We must defund the police and invest in community needs like housing, healthcare, education, and social services, so that all people are guaranteed access to the full scope of their human rights," said Jawanza Williams, Director of Organizing, VOCAL-NY.

“At a time when the COVID-19 crisis has put deep financial strain on the city, when aggressive, unjust over-policing has put a deep mental, emotional strain on the city, when a curfew and massive police presence have put physical constraint on the city, the Mayor has put forth a budget of austerity for most, autonomy for the NYPD. I'd ask the Mayor to ‘Imagine’ if we cut the NYPD budget and used the savings to build up communities. The answer to every problem in communities of more color, it seems, is to send police. That needs to end, now.” said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. 

"This is all very real to me, not only because the NYPD murdered by brother and my tax dollars still going to pay Wayne Isaacs’ salary, but also because I have a 9-year-old son.” said Victoria Davis, sister of Delrawn Small. “Right now, money that could be used to support him to grow and thrive - for example, for community-based summer programs for children - is going to the NYPD so they can criminalize him and other Black children.” 

"In our streets and neighborhoods right now, we are seeing the consequences of spending more on policing than on we spend on healthy neighborhoods, mental health services, affordable housing, and youth programming. Police in heavy riot gear are roughing up peaceful protesters, while our doctors, nurses, and other essential workers struggle to get PPE. With a looming $9 billion budget hole this year, the Mayor proposed cuts to youth summer jobs, deep education cuts, and cuts to affordable housing while leaving the NYPD largely unscathed. I will not vote for a budget that does not include meaningful cuts to the NYPD's budget." said Council Member Brad Lander.

"The FY-21 propoed budget cuts have the potential to hurt minority communities in New York City for generations to come," said Council Member Ben Kallos. "Covid-19 has already disproportionately hurt communities of color in this City. Now is not the time to balance the City's budget on the backs of the people who have already suffered. Right now Mayor de Blasio is proposing no cuts to the NYPD and the message here is clear: we are a city that would rather police our children than care for them. That is wrong. We must invest in prevention and diversion over-policing. Now is the time to reallocate one billion dollars in funding meant for the NYPD to avoid doomsday cuts to Summer Camp for 30,000 low-income children, Summer Youth Employment for 100,000 youth, and a long list of programs too long to list that will leave residents, particularly youth who lack the resources they need to play, learn, and grow in safe spaces with adult mentorship."

"I will only vote for a City budget later this month if it significantly defunds the NYPD and reinvests that money back into our communities and our recovery. It's very simple: more cops does not equal more public safety. Especially without accountability. The budget is the strongest means we have to hold the NYPD accountable to the people. We must use that power." said Council Member Carlos Menchaca.  

Ileana Méndez-Peñate, spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform & #NYCBudgetJustice: “New Yorkers should not stand for subsidizing murder at the hands of New York police. Communities United for Police Reform and the #NYCBudgetJustice campaign are calling for $1 billion in cuts to the NYPD’s budget for the coming fiscal year. We must work together and reroute our tax-payer dollars from criminalization and policing to programs and infrastructure for communities of color.”

More Background Information on #NYCBudgetJustice:

In his FY2021 budget proposal, Mayor Bill de Blasio called for devastating cuts to core social services, programs and infrastructure that are crucial to communities of color and have a history of under-investment. The proposed cuts would severely damage education, youth programs (including the Summer Youth Employment Program) and other agencies that are essential to the well-being of NYC’s communities. Despite these substantial cuts, the NYPD budget is largely untouched and even receives special protections in the proposed executive budget.

In response, Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) and the #NYCBudgetJustice coalition are demanding a budget that does not give NYPD special treatment, especially when many NYC communities are in dire need of support as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. CPR is calling for substantial cuts to the NYPD’s almost $6 billion budget to protect and bolster the services, programs and infrastructure that NYC will need for an inclusive and equitable COVID-19 recovery period. CPR maintains that NYPD cuts can and should aid in NYC’s COVID-19 recovery, particularly for the communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.


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.

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