This comes as protesters continue to take to the streets, demanding action after the death of George Floyd. Many demonstrators have called for the city to defund the police.
In a statement released Friday night, the City Council said cutting $1 billion from police spending would be “an unprecedented reduction that would not only limit the scope of the NYPD, but also show our commitment towards moving away from the failed policing policies of the past.”
The council calls it an “ambitious goal,” but says they have identified savings that would cut over $1 billion.
The cuts include reducing uniform headcount, cutting overtime and shifting responsibilities away from the NYPD.
“Our budget must reflect the reality that policing needs fundamental reform. Over the last few weeks, we have seen an outpouring of New Yorkers demanding change from their leaders. It is our job to listen – and to act. We will not let this moment pass, and we will fight for the budget they deserve,” the council’s statement says.
The Police Benevolent Association issued the following response: “For decades, every time a city agency failed at its task, the city’s answer was to take the job away and give it to the NYPD. If the City Council wants to give responsibilities back to those failing agencies, that’s their choice. But they will bear the blame for every new victim, for every New Yorker in need of help who falls through the cracks. They won’t be able to throw cops under the bus anymore.”
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Comptroller Scott Stringer previously suggested a hiring freeze as a way to defund the police. Stringer said the city can cut $245 million annually — $1.1 billion over four years — through attrition, adding nobody would get fired.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has promised a shift in funding from the NYPD to youth and social services, but he has not offered details.
Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed sweeping police reform bills into law earlier on Friday, action many protesters saw as a small victory.