NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio has heard the calls for police reform and he’s making changes, altering his budget to take money from the NYPD and send it elsewhere.
For nearly two weeks protesters have been demanding police reform. The pressure has turned into a plan from de Blasio — one short of details — to cut the NYPD‘s budget.
“It seems like we are at war with the NYPD and that’s not the case. We’re at war with a system that has been oppressing people for years,” protester Curtis Clark told CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas on Monday.
“This is just one little step in terms of keeping our community safe and giving our community what it needs to survive,” protester Kerbie Joseph added.
The mayor is proposing shifting funding from the NYPD to youth and social services, moving the enforcement of street vending out of the NYPD, and hiring community ambassadors to be a liaison between the police and New Yorkers.
“A lot of things end up at the doorstep of the Police Department that they shouldn’t be engaged in, mental health specifically, right,” City Council Public Safety Chairman Donovan Richards said. “Shouldn’t that money go into programming on the ground in a lot of communities that are underserved in these specific areas.”
Richards said there’s room to cut.
“It’s nearly a billion dollars in overtime that the NYPD has spent,” Richards said.
“If we were to change that we would have more social workers, more teachers, more people who are here to solve the problems, not incarcerate people,” protester Nerdeen Kiswani said.
But community activist Tony Herbert said you can’t forget the recent increase in crime.
“You have officers who being put in a position to go deal with protesters, but we just had somebody shot. So it’s quite concerning,” Herbert said.
The goal is to do both — get to the root of the problem and address crime as it happens.