Over the weekend, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city will shift some funding from the NYPD to youth and social services for communities of color. The city will also move vendor enforcement out of the NYPD, and will establish a “community ambassadors” program in the department.
De Blasio did not specify how much would be cut from the NYPD’s budget, only referring to it as “significant savings.” The amount will be finalized during negotiations with the City Council.
Several members of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus have said they will not support any budget that does not defund the NYPD by $1 billion.
Although it appears the mayor has listened to protesters, especially those who have called for defunding the NYPD, we won’t know if de Blasio is serious until we see the actual numbers.
On the state level, Governor Andrew Cuomo has rolled out his “Say Their Name” legislative agenda, headlined by the reforming of 50-a, the controversial law that prevents law enforcement officials’ disciplinary records from being made public.
Other measures include banning chokeholds, designating the attorney general as an independent prosecutor, and prohibiting false race-based 911 complaints.
It’s a good first step, but the slate of 13 bills backed by the State Legislature’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus is more comprehensive and will provide more accountability to communities impacted by police violence.
Some of the proposed bills, like banning racial and ethnic profiling, local independent oversight of police and collecting data on impact of police activity, are no-brainers. They should have been passed years ago.
We urge Governor Cuomo to sign this package of legislation immediately. We hope these measures will prevent black and brown communities from suffering at the hands of the police when they become law.