Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York President Pat Lynch speaks as he and representatives from other New York City Police Department (NYPD) and law enforcement unions hold a news conference in New York City, U.S., June 9, 2020. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio has proposed slashing the city’s police department budget by $1 billion to curb a $9 billion budget shortfall. In addition to cost-cutting, De Blasio stated that the $1 billion cut was driven by mass protests following the killing of George Flloyd. Half of the $1 billion cut will amount to a reallocation of resources, as school safety officers would be moved to the Department of Education. Additional recommendations include the suspended hiring of more than1,100 police officers.

According to a poll by Siena College, a majority of New Yorkers do not agree with the police budget cuts. Conservatives have argued against De Blasio’s decision to decrease funding for the police as gun violence climbs across the city. Head of the Police Benevolent Association union Patrick Lynch said that the “Mayor and the City Council have surrendered the city to lawlessness,” while Councilman Joe Borelli said he believes the cutbacks will make the city a “more violent place.”

Liberal opponents of the reduction argue that decreasing police funds by $1 billion does not align with the movement to completely defund the police. City Council Speaker Corey Johnson expressed disappointment in De Blasio’s plan and argued for deeper cuts and greater headcount reductions. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., called the cuts resulting from the removal of school safety officers a “disingenuous illusion.” Other liberal lawmakers did not hold as strict requirements. Councilwoman Alicka Ampry-Samuels said she believes the city still needs a police force, however, “how to police is the new conversation.”

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

De Blasio plans to cut NYPD budget by $1 billion as NYC shootings spike – New York Post – 6/29/2020
“We have caved to the mob in a moment we know will come back to haunt us,” Councilman Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) told The Post. “The mayor is smart enough to know that these actions will create a more violent environment in New York. “This is what you get when you have government-by-hashtag,” he added.

De Blasio announces proposal to cut NYPD budget by $1B – Fox Business – 6/30/2020
While de Blasio did not outline the specific details of the plan, other city officials have called for the slashing of overtime, trimming the number of officers through attrition, and investing some of the savings in social services and communities impacted by police misconduct.

It’s going to get worse for New York as de Blasio announces a $1 billion NYPD budget cut – Herman Cain – 6/30/2020
Congratulations, New York City. Thanks to your terrible mayor, things are about to go from really, really bad to even worse. […] Bill de Blasio has decided to cave to the “defund the police” movement in a big way. In fact, he plans to slash the NYPD budget by a massive $1 billion. So, a force that is already overextended, under-equipped and under-supported is about to be severely cash-strapped as well.

De Blasio and Council, Facing Fiscal Crisis Over Virus, Agree on Budget With Big Cuts – The New York Times – 6/29/2020
Bowing to political pressure and a bleak fiscal reality that evoked municipal crises of decades past, New York City officials on Monday agreed to an austerity budget that includes drastic cuts to city services and a $1 billion shift of resources out of the New York Police Department.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Julia Salazar on Twitter, 6/30/2020: I can’t imagine how anyone—after we’ve all witnessed rampant, violent behavior from the NYPD in response to anti-racist protests, plus amidst the underfunding of social services—could vote Yes on a city budget that fails to meaningfully decrease the NYPD budget by >$1Billion.

Joe Borelli on Twitter, 6/30/2020: I will be voting NO on today’s budget. I do not want my name associated with cuts to the #NYPD that will make #NYC more violent place. I’ll sleep well tonight, confident in this decision. I will be explaining why in more detail at this evening’s virtual budget vote.

Maya Wiley on Twitter, 6/30/2020: Demand to cut $1B from #NYPD budget was clear. Today’s deal isn’t a cut. It’s moving the deck chairs around. We have to stop tinkering and start transforming public safety. It requires school social workers, mental health svcs, housing= problem-solving, not policing human needs.

Eliel Cruz on Twitter, 6/30/2020: If you’re able to today, get to City Hall. Make calls to your council members and tell them to vote NO on anything that doesn’t cut 1 Billion from the NYPD. We need to get this budget cut.

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