June 29, 2020, New York – In response to current reporting on the impending New York City budget vote, Lupe Aguirre, Bertha Just Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:
In the last weeks, true to form, the NYPD responded with abuse and violence to the COVID-19 pandemic and anti-brutality protests fighting for the rights of Black, brown, and LGBTQIA New Yorkers. We deserve better than a misleading budget that only hides the ball and does little to reduce the footprint of abusive and violent policing that has long and disproportionately impacted Black and brown New Yorkers. It is incumbent on the mayor and city council to commit to a transparent budget that genuinely begins to defund the police and takes those funds and invests in people and communities and their welfare.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is a member of Communities United for Police Reform—please also see their statement below:
CPR statement - hyperlink here
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | Monday, June 29, 2020
Contact: Hannah Ross, (774) 279-7732, [email protected]
CPR Slams Mayor de Blasio & Speaker Johnson for Playing Budget Tricks to Protect NYPD Budget Instead of Social Safety Net & Programs in Pandemic: New Yorkers Won’t Accept Anything Less Than a True $1 Billion NYPD Cut & True Reinvestment of $1B plus from NYPD Cuts to Communities
New York, NY (June 29, 2020) – Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), the unprecedented campaign uniting New York’s organizing and advocacy organizations to end police violence and imagine a future of safety without relying on the police - and the coordinator of the coalition of almost 200 organizations demanding #DefundNYPD for #NYCBudgetJustice, today issued the following statement responding to reporting on Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council’s anticipated budget announcement:
“Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Johnson are using funny math and budget tricks to try to mislead New Yorkers into thinking that they plan to meet the movement's demands for at least $1 billion in direct cuts to the NYPD's almost $6B FY21 expense budget and reinvestments of over $1 billion to communities," said Anthonine Pierre a spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform (CPR). "This is a lie and the movement isn't falling for de Blasio and Johnson's budget tricks that are protecting and giving special treatment to the NYPD, refusing to even institute a full hiring freeze on NYPD uniformed officers - all while continuing to decimate the social safety net, threaten future layoffs that are not police, cutting non-police hate violence prevention initiatives, and refusing to take care of elders, youth, Black and other communities of color most devastated by the pandemic and ongoing police violence. In the middle of this pandemic, New Yorkers from every background and borough have taken to the streets, slept at City Hal/l, called and emailed their elected officials and demanded an immediate end to the NYPD’s systemic violence and at least $1 billion in cuts to the NYPD's expense budget be immediately reinvested in real community health and safety. Even this weekend a Queer Liberation March was met with NYPD violence and mass pepper-spraying. We won’t stand for it. Council Members of New York, we are paying attention and we are watching how you vote on this budget that protects the NYPD instead of New Yorkers. You must center the voices of all low-income New Yorkers in your voting- all people of color, including youth, elders, immigrant, homeless, public housing residents, LGBT, gender nonconforming and all communities who have been devastated by the pandemic and suffered from abusive policing so that our neighborhoods can thrive free from violence – including violence committed by the police. Moving police from the NYPD to other agencies does nothing to reduce police violence - it maintains the bloated infrastructure for abusive policing of New Yorkers. You must vote no on any budget that presents funny math and budget tricks that don't amount to a true reduction of at least $1 billion to the NYPD expense budget where the $1 billion plus all related savings can be reinvested in communities - or you must go back to the drawing board and create a budget that truly serves New Yorkers. We will accept nothing less.”
Background on #NYCBudgetJustice & #DefundNYPD campaign
In his April FY2021 executive budget proposal, Mayor Bill de Blasio called for devastating cuts to core social services, programs and infrastructure that are crucial to communities of color and have a history of under-investment. The proposed cuts would severely damage education, youth programs (including the Summer Youth Employment Program) and other agencies that are essential to the well-being of NYC’s communities. Despite these substantial cuts, the NYPD budget was largely untouched and even receives special protections in the proposed executive budget.
In response, Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) and their #NYCBudgetJustice coalition of close to 200 local and national organizations have been demanding that at least $1 billion be cut directly from the NYPD FY21 expense budget and redirected to core services programs and infrastructure for Black, Latinx and other communities of color to have a chance at an equitable COVID-19 recovery. CPR has demanded that cuts include removing police from social service and school roles, as well as reduce the massive and bloated headcount of uniformed officers, outlined in this report. CPR maintains that NYPD cuts can and should aid in NYC’s COVID-19 recovery, particularly for communities of color that are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic and police brutality.
About Communities United for Police Reform
Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory policing practices in New York, and to build a lasting movement that promotes public safety and reduces reliance on policing. CPR runs coalitions of over 200 local, statewide and national organizations, bringing together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change. The partners in this campaign come from all 5 boroughs, from all walks of life and represent many of those most unfairly targeted by the NYPD.
The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at ccrjustice.org.