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NYC Mayor’s promise to defund NYPD falls short of the people’s demands

By Staff |
July 4, 2020
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New York, NY – The New York City Council voted Tuesday, June 30 in favor of a new budget proposal that will supposedly cut NYPD funding by $1 billion from the police department’s current annual budget of $6 billion. This comes in response to recent protests demanding that the city defund the NYPD. While Mayor Bill DeBlasio claims that the budget plan answers protesters’ calls, the proposed ‘cuts’ in funding are in truth no more than an illusion.

Mayor DeBlasio claims that several hundred million dollars cut from the NYPD will go to funding for education. However, the reality is that the money currently used to police NYC schools will simply get shuffled around so that it comes out of the Department of Education (DOE) budget instead. To make matters worse, this comes on top of plans to cut hundreds of millions from funding for the DOE. So what DeBlasio calls an increase in funding for education is in reality just a sneaky way to continue over-policing the schools, all while the city saves money on actual education costs.

The budget proposal also refuses to put in a NYPD hiring freeze, even though the number of officers has grown dramatically over the past several years. By contrast, months ago DeBlasio announced plans for a hiring freeze on teachers for the next school year.

While DeBlasio also touts the new budget as beneficial to low-income New Yorkers by moving funding from the NYPD to things like public housing, the budget will also cut $65 million from a program that provides low-income residents with half-price Metro cards for public transit.

People across New York City immediately recognized the lies embedded in the city’s plan to supposedly defund the NYPD. Protests continue daily across the city, and an occupation of City Hall still endures after it began almost two weeks ago. Despite violent police repression, protesters refuse to back down until their demands are met and the NYPD gets truly defunded.

If the recent budget decision shows us anything, however, it makes it clear that we cannot expect the mayor or the city council to ever meet the people’s demands around policing in a meaningful way. City officials will always come up with tricky ways to maintain police funding and resources, because as long as capitalism and private property exist, they will do whatever it takes to ensure that the police continue to protect the interests of the ruling class and the rich.

This is exactly why we need to fight for community control of the police. Organizers in the New York Community Action Project and other groups across the country are fighting for a Civilian Police Accountability Council (or CPAC), which would give elected community members power over the police budget, hiring and firing of officers, and the ability to investigate officers. Only by giving the people power over the police will we see real, meaningful changes that include defunding the police and convicting and arresting all the cops who continue to get away with their crimes against Black and brown communities.

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