By Kevin Deutsch
New York City Comptroller and mayoral contender Scott Stringer called Thursday for the elimination of $1.1 billion in NYPD funding over the next four years, a move he said would shift responsibilities away from cops—and boost investment in communities impacted by police violence and racism.
In a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Stringer urged an initial five percent cut to the NYPD’s Fiscal Year 2021 Executive Budget. The decrease would reduce the department’s uniformed personnel headcount, slash overtime costs, and trim non-vital NYPD services, saving approximately $265 million for the city annually, according to Stringer.
In carrying out the cuts, Stringer said, the city would free up money to “rebuild communities ravaged by COVID-19 and systemic community disinvestment, and dramatically reduce police interactions that too often end in unnecessary criminal legal system involvement.”
Stringer’s call comes amid nationwide demonstrations and mass civil unrest in response to the police killing of George Floyd, a Black man slain by a Minneapolis cop who kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, even as the dying father told police, “I can’t breathe.”
All four officers involved in the attack have been arrested and charged in Floyd’s death.
“The brutal, senseless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmed Aubrey are the most recent reminders of the longstanding need for racial justice and reform in policing,” said Stringer, citing two other extrajudicial killings of African-Americans in recent weeks. “We must call out racism in all its ugly forms to break this painful cycle. But it is not enough to condemn racism in words: our fight for justice must be backed up with accountability and concrete action. Breaking down structural racism in New York City will require long-term, lasting change — and that must include reducing the NYPD’s budget. If our budget is a reflection of our values, it is unconscionable that services for Black and Brown New Yorkers are on the chopping block while the NYPD’s budget remains almost entirely untouched.”
De Blasio is proposing a decrease of less than one percent to the NYPD’s $5.9 billion annual budget, despite deep cuts already implemented by City Hall to vital services—including a elimination of the popular Summer Youth Employment Program, Stringer said.