NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio said he's proposing slashing the New York City police budget by $1 billion.
With a “defund the police” sit-in protest continuing outside City Hall, de Blasio said Monday that the New York Police Department had found ways to find the cuts from its current $6 billion budget that would open up more funding for youth and other community programs.
There was no immediate comment from the NYPD.
Hundreds of demonstrators have been camped out in City Hall Park and demanding police defunding following weeks of protests over the death of George Floyd and other Black Americans killed by law enforcement.
The relentless pressure campaign for police reform waged by protesters, now its second month, seems to be working.
But take note of the Mayor’s careful description of what the future holds.
"My office presented to the City Council a plan that would achieve the billion dollars in savings for the NYPD and shift resources to young people, to communities, in a way that would help address a lot of the underlying issues that we know are the cause of so many problems in our society," he said.
Brooklyn Public School teacher Ronnie Almonte said the protests have made possible what was once unthinkable.
"Even the fact that we're having this discussion, and you're asking me about defunding the police, that wasn't on the agenda a few years ago. It's been a month of explosion, of movement, of rebellion that has put that on the agenda," he said.
Mayor de Blasio, speaking in a follow up interview Monday night — in the midst of ongoing budget negotiations — did not rule out citywide layoffs .
"Lord knows I do not want to see layoffs," he said on NY1. "I think they'd be horrible for this cuty. But on the other hand I've lost a massive amount of revenue, and I have to balance this budget."
Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch slammed de Blasio's budget announcement.
"Mayor de Blasio’s message to New Yorkers today was clear: you will have fewer cops on your streets," he said. "Shootings more than doubled again last week. Even right now, the NYPD doesn’t have enough manpower to shift cops to one neighborhood without making another neighborhood less safe. We will say it again: the Mayor and the City Council have surrendered the city to lawlessness. Things won’t improve until New Yorkers hold them responsible.”