Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

"Defund the police" became a rallying cry for many people on the left almost overnight — but it's also having a real impact as cities move quickly to slash their police department budgets.

Driving the news: In the aftermath of the protests over the killing of George Floyd, city leaders are calling to cut law enforcement budgets or reallocate funds in at least 19 U.S. cities, according to Local Progress, which pushes for racial and economic justice and is tracking the issue in real-time.

  • "Defund the police" means something different to everyone, but the common theme involves cutting funding from police department budgets and, instead, investing in social programs to address underlying issues like mental health and addiction.

What's happening: In Minneapolis, the Park and Recreation Board, the University of Minnesota, the public school system, and museums and venues have ended or limited their relationship with the police department, the Star Tribune reported.

  • Last week, the Baltimore City Council approved a $22.4 million budget cut for the police department.
  • The Portland City Council cut $15 million from its police budget earlier this month. $5 million of that would be put toward a new program that sends unarmed first responders to answer homelessness calls.
  • Philadelphia cancelled a planned $19 million increase for the police department and shifted $14 million of the police budget elsewhere — including affordable housing.
  • The city council in Hartford, Connecticut voted to cut or reallocate $2 million of its police budget.
  • In Seattle, every department budget is being trimmed by around 10%, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan told Axios' Dan Primack on the Re:Cap podcast. "We have to reallocate parts of the budget to take things out of the police department that shouldn’t be there ... We have to rethink what remains in the police department," Durkan said.
  • Other cities where officials are calling for changes, according to Local Progress, include San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Oakland, Milwaukee, Denver, Durham, Winston-Salem, Chicago, New York City and D.C.

What they're saying: "What is really inspiring is really seeing this movement in city after city after city really working to define for those places what public safety looks like, and what our budget should look like," Local Progress director Sarah Johnson told Axios. "It's kind of a reflection of our values as a society."

Yes, but: The "defund the police" movement is also strongly polarizing: 53% of Americans have an unfavorable view of the movement, compared to just 34% who view it favorably, according to an Axios-SurveyMonkey poll. (The split becomes narrower when the words "defund the police" aren't used.)

What to watch: While the "mood is ripe for change" in Eugene, Ore., "our city government is not designed for immediate reaction," said city council member Greg Evans.

  • Similarly, Dallas City Councilman Casey Thomas told Axios that advocates may not get the full reallocation from police this year, due to the short time frame for the budget process.
  • Nevertheless, he said, "In the event that you don't get what you want, stay engaged and stay involved."
  • The U.S. Conference of Mayors on Thursday released principles to guide a "police reform framework" that mayor and police chiefs can adopt to deter patterns of racial discrimination. That framework is expected to be announced in the next month.

Between the lines: Ongoing protests have put pressure on local decision makers to review police programs and policies just as many cities prepare to start the fiscal year on July 1.

  • Many cities also have been in the process of revising their current fiscal year budgets because of financial shortfalls due to COVID-19, experts say. This will force budget cuts across a broad range of city services — including public safety.
  • While the protests could force more budget cuts to come from police budgets, moving those funds to social programs could be difficult. "[T]here won’t be money for that," said Michael Belsky, Executive Director of the Center for Municipal Finance at the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy.

Go deeper

Oct 20, 2020 - World

Soldiers reportedly fire on protesters against police brutality in Nigeria

Young Nigerians protest the Special Anti-Robbery Squad in Lagos. Photo: NurPhoto via Getty Images

A growing movement against police brutality in Nigeria has erupted into violence, with reports of a number of deaths and injuries in Lagos on Tuesday, according to Al Jazeera.

Why it matters: Nigeria is the latest country to confront police brutality. The U.S. has witnessed months of clashes between police and protesters over the killings of Black Americans.

Tony Hsieh, longtime Zappos CEO, dies at 46

Tony Hsieh. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic

Tony Hsieh, the longtime ex-chief executive of Zappos, died on Friday after being injured in a house fire, his lawyer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He was 46.

The big picture: Hsieh was known for his unique approach to management, and following the 2008 recession his ongoing investment and efforts to revitalize the downtown Las Vegas area.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

The unicorn stampede is coming

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Airbnb and DoorDash plan to go public in the next few weeks, capping off a very busy year for IPOs.

What's next: You ain't seen nothing yet.