New York Police Department's budget has been slashed by $1 billion

Facing pressure from thousands of constituents calling to defund the police, New York slashed $1 billion from the city's police budget. But some city lawmakers -- and the protesters calling for change -- think the cuts weren't sweeping enough.

Posted: Jul 1, 2020 12:42 PM

(CNN) -- Facing pressure from thousands of constituents calling to defund the police, New York slashed $1 billion from the city's police budget. But some city lawmakers -- and the protesters calling for change -- think the cuts weren't sweeping enough.

New York lawmakers approved the $88.9 billion 2021 budget late Tuesday night while hundreds of protesters, many of whom have camped outside City Hall for a week, waited to hear the results.

The New York Police Department is the largest police force in the US and employs over 55,000. The department budget was almost $6 billion for the 2020 fiscal year.

The approved budget includes nearly $484 million in cuts and will reallocate $354 million to other agencies "best positioned to carry out the duties that have been previously assigned to the New York Police Department, like the Department of Education, the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene and the Department of Homeless Services. Another $162 million was slashed through "associated costs," the city council said in a statement.

The approved budget also moves about $500 million of the department's capital budget to other "badly needed infrastructure," the city council said, and reduces overtime spending by $352 million.

The NYPD will also transfer control of the city's school safety program to the Department of Education, the council said. The NYPD will also remove crossing guards and pull out of homeless outreach services since, the council said, "police often merely moved these individuals from one unsafer spot to another, continuing the cycle of injustice."

"This was a hard-fought battle, which marks the beginning of the Council's efforts to not only limit the size and scope of the NYPD, but also reimagine how we structure criminal justice and public safety in this city," the city council said.

Tensions between NYPD and New Yorkers boiled over in May, during protests against racism and police brutality, and often resulted in violence. Among other incidents, city officials are investigating the department after a police cruiser was filmed driving into a crowd of protesters, and an officer accused of shoving a protester to the ground and concussing her was arrested.

Calls to defund or abolish the police have becoming a familiar demand at police brutality protests across the country. So far, just Minneapolis has pledged to look at ways to dismantle its existing police department after four officers were charged with the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man whose death spurred the protests.

City officials aren't satisfied

The budget cuts and reallocations don't constitute a complete victory, city officials said. City Council speaker Corey Johnson told reporters Tuesday that he wanted the cuts to go deeper.

"This isn't a billion dollars. And I'm not going to pretend that it is," Johnson said. "To everyone who is disappointed that we did not go farther I want to let you know -- I am disappointed as well ... But this budget process involves the mayor who was not budging."

Johnson said he wanted a full hiring freeze, but this budget will still allow for two new police classes to be added. He said he also wanted a bigger headcount reduction, but this budget cuts about 1,163 officers through attribution and by eliminating two police cadet classes. The NYPD employs around 36,000 officers.

New York City comptroller Scott Stringer called the announced NYPD budget cuts a "bait and switch and a paper thin excuse for reform."

Stringer said the "excuses" include proposals to slash uniformed police overtime by 60% with "no plan on how to get there."

"Meaningful change in this moment won't come by shifting police from one agency to another, and budget tricks won't bring an end to the status quo," he said in a statement. "The movement in the streets won't be suppressed by manipulated math."

New York Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said he'd block the budget during the final tax warrant process if it didn't include a full hiring freeze for the police department. Part of the city budget did include a hiring freeze on Department of Education employees, officials said Tuesday.

Some protesters told CNN affiliate WLNY they plan to continue to occupy City Hall even now that officials have voted on the budget.

The-CNN-Wire
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