NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to slash NYPD's $6B budget and divert funds to youth initiatives and social services

The Democratic mayor made the announcement in the wake of the George Floyd killing protests that have rocked the US for weeks now

                            NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio to slash NYPD's $6B budget and divert funds to youth initiatives and social services
NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio (Getty Images)

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Sunday, June 7, said funds from New York Police Department’s (NYPD) budget worth $6 billion would be slashed and the money will be diverted to social services. The announcement came after protests over the brutal killing of George Floyd have continued for almost two weeks now. Addressing a press conference, the 59-year-old Blasio said: “We need to do a lot more for our young people.”

“We will be moving funding from the NYPD to youth initiatives and social services. I want people to understand we are committed to shifting resources to ensure the focus is on our young people. And I also will affirm that when doing that, we will only do it in a way that we are certain will ensure the city will be safe,” he said. The mayor, whose 25-year-old daughter Chiara was also arrested in Manhattan recently while joining the protests in NYC, had on Friday, June 5, rejected the idea saying the funds were required to keep The Big Apple safe. “I do not believe it’s a good idea to reduce the budget of the agency that's here to keep us safe,” he said.

De Blasio's wife suggested police reform

It was reported that the push for police reform was suggested by de Blasio’s African-American wife Chirlane McCray, 56, a writer-activist and one of the chairs of his task force on racial inclusion in NYC. New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also implored the mayor to slash the city police force’s funding amid calls to defund the department. The general mood is unfavorable for the police forces in the US at the moment, following the death of Floyd at the hands of policemen in Minneapolis on May 25. 

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio with his wife Chirlane McCray (Getty Images)

On Sunday, McCray stole the limelight briefly while assisting in unveiling the proposed changes to the NYPD. De Blasio thanked her while meeting the media saying her work is already having a big impact. “Thank you to everyone who’s put real intense time and energy into this task force knowing that we have to make changes right now,” he said. McCray said they reviewed the events and came up with recommendations to start reforming the NYPD. 

De Blasio, who has faced pressure in handling both the precarious Covid-19 situation in the city and the protests over Floyd’s death, did not reveal the exact funds that will be diverted. It was learned that the exact amount will be confirmed after the NYC Council finalizes the $90 million budget at a later date. “We’re committed to seeing a shift of funding to youth services, to social services, that will happen literally in the course of the next three weeks, but I’m not going to go into detail because it is subject to negotiation and we want to figure out what makes sense,” he said. 

de Blasio also supports reform of provisions in 50-a

Besides cutting the funds, de Blasio also revealed that he backs the reform of provisions in 50-a, a state law that shields disciplinary records, personnel files, and related materials of law enforcement from the public, to ensure "transparency" prevails among the law enforcement. The law has often been accused of guarding the cops from facing accountability. The NY police will also transfer vendor enforcement out of the department’s practices and bring the community ambassadors with the NYPD’s scope. “The City will shift enforcement for street vending out of NYPD so our officers can focus on the real drivers of crime instead of administrative infractions,” de Blasio’s office said in a statement.

“This will further the Administration’s de-escalation agenda by reducing interactions between uniform officers and New Yorkers, particularly immigrant communities and communities of color.” McCray said moving vendor enforcement from the NYPD’s role was to see “code violations” did not require an officer “whose presence could escalate an encounter."

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