New York City passes budget with $1 billion cut to NYPD amid City Hall protest

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Wednesday, July 1, 2020
NYC passes budget with $1B cut to NYPD
City Council passed the New York City budget late Tuesday night, a budget which includes redistributing $1 billion from the NYPD budget.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- City Council passed the New York City budget late Tuesday night, a budget which includes redistributing $1 billion from the NYPD budget.

Earlier this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the massive police department cuts and reduced expenses as part of NYPD reform.

The new budget shifts that $1 billion to spending for young people and NYCHA.

The total figure for the new budget is $88.1 billion budget, down from $95.3 billion.

The NYPD reforms include canceling the July recruit class, major overtime reductions and reduced contracts and non-personnel expenses.

"It is time to do the work of reform to think deeply about where our police have to be in the future, where the NYPD has to be in the future," he said.

The money will be redirected to other areas.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced $1B in cuts and reduced expenses as part of NYPD reform in the new budget.

"We are going to insure summer programming for over 100,000 New York City young people. That is going to be an investment of $115 million. Another $116 million will go towards education, another $134 million will go towards social services and family services in the communities hit hardest by the coronavirus," de Blasio said.

More than a half-billion dollars will be shifted for NYCHA and Parks youth recreation centers and for broadband expansion.

The reforms also include shifting school safety agents from police to the education department.

The mayor also hopes to get $1 billion in savings from labor unions and avoid layoffs. Layoffs could happen on October 1 as "the last resort."

Prior to the announcement, critics said much of those cuts are nothing more than budgetary tricks, and Public Advocate Jumaani Williams held a Zoom call to talk about plans to potentially block the budget.

Williams threatened to use a power few thought his limited office actually had, quoting page 279 of the city charter, an obscure section on tax collection that reads, in part, "such (tax) warrants need be signed only by the public advocate and counter-signed by the city clerk."

"If we have a hiring freeze for every single city agency, that should include the NYPD," he said. "There's no reason why we're not hiring additional guidance counselors. We're not hiring additional nurses. We're not hiring additional homeless outreach workers across the city."

Williams says the proposed cuts don't go far enough.

"(It) is about fundamentally moving forward a real discussion on public safety in this city in a time when we need it the most," he said.

PBA President Pat Lynch also blasted the proposals.

"Shootings more than doubled again last week," he said in a statement. "Even right now, the NYPD doesn't have enough manpower to shift cops to one neighborhood without making another neighborhood less safe. We will say it again: the Mayor and the City Council have surrendered the city to lawlessness. Things won't improve until New Yorkers hold them responsible."

The budget talks came as hundreds of demonstrators have spent the past week camped out in City Hall Park and demanding police defunding following weeks of protests over the death of George Floyd and other Black Americans killed by law enforcement.

Organizers have called it "Occupy City Hall," a nod to the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement a few blocks away in Zuccotti Park.

The group directed its demands - scrawled on colorful placards, a canvass of graffiti and a massive poster taped over a subway entrance - at de Blasio and Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

"We've done different levels of escalation to make sure we're getting their attention," said Jonathan Lykes, one of the movement's organizers. "If they defund the police by $1 billion then we have won, but that's only our demand this week."

The situation grew tense Tuesday morning after a Brooklyn man was arrested for spray painting a statue on a building across from City Hall, sparking hours of pushing between police and protesters.

Police say 18-year-old man Dominique Tombeau was caught spray painting the statue on 31 Chambers Street at 2:40 a.m. Tuesday.

Tombeau has been charged with making graffiti, resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration, criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, criminal tampering and disorderly conduct.

Police also arrested a man they say punched an officer in the face and head with his fist around 5:45 a.m. Joseph Konnaris, 20, of Queens, is charged with assault, menacing, disorderly conduct and harassment.

A third arrest, for disorderly conduct, is pending.


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