Jul 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

New York Council agrees to cut $1B from NYPD budget

A large crowd holds signs that read "defund the police" and "abolish, disarm"
Protesters march in Manhattan in support of NYPD budget cuts and defunding the police, on June 29. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

The New York City Council agreed late Tuesday to reallocate $1 billion from the NYPD operating budget as part of the city's police reform efforts driven by nationwide Black Lives Matter protests.

The big picture: For the 2020 fiscal year, the city spent $10.9 billion on its police department — the largest and most expensive police force in the country, per the nonpartisan Citizens Budget Commission.

Details: Most of the money would be diverted to youth and social services, community summer programs and education, the mayor's office said. The biggest proposed cut would trim $352 million from uniformed and civilian officer overtime.

Yes, but: The NYPD budget trim puts school safety officers under the authority of the Department of Education, which the New York Times calls "a budgetary sleight of hand."

Between the lines: The proposed cuts to the police budget are part of an $88.1 billion spending plan. The city is grappling with a $9 billion shortfall from the shutdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Other measures include curtailed municipal services and a hiring freeze, including the July police cadet class but not the fall police hires.
  • To meet the budget's commitment of $1 billion in labor savings, de Blasio "has for the first time had to draw down on financial reserves," per the Times.
  • The mayor confirmed on Tuesday a $65 million cut from a program that subsidizes the cost of mass transit for low-income residents, the Times notes.

Other police reform efforts in the city, made in response to the killing of George Floyd and protests against police violence, include:

  • NYPD commissioner Dermot Shea announced on June 15 the NYPD would disband its plainclothes anti-crime unit.
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said June 13 that police must work with communities to enact reforms by April 1, 2021, to be eligible for state funds.
  • Cuomo on June 12 signed an executive order on the reforms, along with legislation to ban police use of chokeholds and to repeal a decades-old law that sealed records of alleged officer misconduct from the public.
  • The New York City Council voted on June 18 to require the NYPD to disclose what forms of surveillance technology officers use, and to report what rules are in place to protect personal data collected by officers, CNET reports.

Go deeper: The cities that are already defunding the police

Editor's note: This piece has been updated to note that the NYPD budget changes include reallocating school safety officers to the Education Department and that the NYC Council approved the budget late Tuesday.

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