The Path Forward: How to Defund the NYPD by at least $1 Billion, Invest in Communities & Make NYC Safer
New York, NY (June 16, 2020) – Today, Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) released a new policy report on #NYCBudgetJustice which illustrates specific steps the New York City Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio must make to cut at least $1 billion from NYPD’s FY21 expense budget to ensure that monies can be redirected to protect and strengthen essential services, programs and infrastructure that address key needs of Black, Latinx and other NYC communities of color for an equitable transition in the COVID-19 period. You can read the report here.
From the report: “No amount of police officers, police training or police funding will ever be able to provide the basis for communities to survive and thrive. That is the fundamental contradiction with New York City’s budget approach under the de Blasio administration: Monies have been invested in policing and criminalization instead of health, housing and other community needs. This helps explain why NYC has been so devastated by COVID-19, especially amongst elders, Black, Latinx and other communities of color...
“The demand for at least $1 billion to be cut and redirected from the NYPD’s bloated and non-transparent budget is a floor, not a ceiling. $1 billion is the minimum of what should be re-allocated to other agencies from the NYPD’s expense budget. For decades, there has been a systemic under-investment - and in many cases disinvestment - from New York City’s public health and other public infrastructure, the social safety net, and core programs and services for communities of color. Since de Blasio became Mayor, the NYPD’s spending from 2014 - 2019 has been more than what NYC spent on the departments of health, homeless services, housing preservation & development, youth & community development, and workforce development combined.[i] In other words, New York City government has defunded Black, Latinx and other communities of color for years."
The report lays out reasons for why decreasing the NYPD’s budget by at least $1B in FY21 will contribute to safety, cites recent examples of brutality and racist targeting in social distancing enforcement, widespread police violence in protest policing, and the refusal by Mayor de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Shea to fire officers who harm New Yorkers: “This is dangerous because it is part of a pattern by elected officials and police brass that emboldens police brutality, and serves as pre-authorization for police violence, making clear that most officers will not be fired for these actions. The Mayor and Commissioner’s refusal to fire many officers who have killed and brutalized New Yorkers over the years is also part of why so many officers are emboldened to harm New Yorkers – and plays a role in why some officers who witness these incidents are reluctant to intervene or report the misconduct… The outsized NYPD budget and the history of defunding crucial infrastructure, services and community programs does not make NYC safer.”
Redirecting NYPD funds into services and social programs that center public health, affordable housing, education and youth development will be an essential step in creating an equitable foundation of health and safety for all New Yorkers.
The demands of CPR’s #NYCBudgetJustice campaign are for the Mayor and City Council to:
1. #DefundNYPD by at least $1 billion in the FY21 expense budget – and for those monies to be redirected to core needs in Black, Latinx and other communities of color. This will be essential for an equitable transition and recovery in the COVID-19 period.
2. Require increased NYPD budget transparency by including transparency-related terms and conditions in the budget that is passed for FY21. The NYPD’s budget is arguably the most secretive and opaque of any New York City agency. This lack of transparency functions as structural protection from meaningful fiscal oversight, including in budget negotiations. This has allowed the NYPD’s budget to balloon by over $1 billion during the de Blasio administration.
- The NYPD should be required to disclose all private sources of income that equal $5,000 or more in any fiscal year, details of the specific purpose(s) those funds are used towards, and a full description and accounting of budget lines that those funds cover.
- The NYPD should be required to have more specific units of appropriation as part of its public facing budget.
- The NYPD should be required to provide a public report of all officers with pending and closed misconduct incidents, with details including when and whether disciplinary action was taken and detail of the type of disciplinary action taken.
3. Block increases of any NYPD expense budget lines in FY21 – and deny and cancel any new policing-related initiatives in the NYPD expense budget, other agency expense budgets, NYC general fund budget and in the capital budget plan.
- This includes canceling the new NYPD “community ambassador program[ii]” that Mayor de Blasio announced on June 7, 2020.
While the report does not look at the NYC Fy21 capital budget, CPR also calls for cancellation of all NYPD items in the capital budget, and redistribution of capital dollars and capital project properties from the NYPD to other agencies meeting critical needs of the most under-resourced New Yorkers.
New York City Council Speaker Johnson and other Council leaders recently responded to the demands of the #NYCBudgetJustice movement and pledged to cut $1 billion from NYPD. While this is a good start, the New York City Council must transform talk into action. Link to CPR’s statement responding to announcement here.
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 their #NYCBudgetJustice coalition are demanding that at least $1 billion be cut from the NYPD FY21 expense budget and redirected to core services programs and infrastructure for Black, Latinx and other communities of color to have a chance at an equitable COVID-19 recovery. CPR maintains that NYPD cuts can and should aid in NYC’s COVID-19 recovery, particularly for communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and police brutality.
[i] Adopted budget fiscal years 2015-2020, City of New York https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/
[ii] On June 7, 2020, Mayor de Blasio announced four so-called “policing reforms”. One was an idea for the NYPD to hire “community ambassadors” to “serve as liaisons between officers and New Yorkers”. This is seen widely as a costly public relations stunt that will add to the NYPD’s budget while systemic lack of transparency and accountability continue.
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