On Tuesday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, referring to the gigantic cuts to the New York Police Department budget that have been estimated at anywhere from $1 billion to $1.5 billion, pontificated that the cuts weren’t severe enough, snapping, “Defunding police means defunding police. It does not mean budget tricks or funny math.”
“It does not mean moving school police officers from the NYPD budget to the Department of Education’s budget so the exact same police remain in schools,” Ocasio-Cortez continued, according to the New York Post. She added, “It does not mean counting cuts in overtime as cuts, even as NYPD ignores every attempt by City Council to curb overtime spending and overspends on overtime anyways. If these reports are accurate, then these proposed ‘cuts’ to the NYPD budget are a disingenuous illusion. This is not a victory. The fight to defund policing continues,” The Hill reported.
Ocasio-Cortez was asked recently, “What does an America with defunded police look like to you?” She answered, “The good news is that it actually doesn’t take a ton of imagination. It looks like a suburb.”
The New York Post noted that the plan from New York City mayor Bill de Blasio would include canceling the NYPD’s July class of 1,163 cadets as well as $350 million to overtime pay and other expenses. On Monday, de Blasio said, “We have found a plan that will keep this city safe, will achieve the $1 billion in savings, will allow us to redistribute money to youth programs and communities that need it most.”
New York City Council speaker Corey Johnson echoed Ocasio-Cortez, saying, “To everyone who is disappointed that we did not go further, I want to be very honest and candid: I am disappointed as well,” The New York Times reported.
Brooklyn Councilman Carlos Menchaca, who has evidenced staunch support for defunding the police, said, “This budget deal is not a people’s victory. It’s a retreat into fear, with accounting gimmicks standing in for the real thing,” The Gothamist noted.
Jumaane Williams, the city’s public advocate, “pointed to an obscure provision in the City Charter that requires the public advocate to sign a warrant authorizing the collection of real estate taxes, which underpin the city’s budget. He said he would not sign that warrant unless the city eliminated the next class of police officers,” the Times wrote, adding, “No public advocate has refused to sign the warrant.”
CBS New York quoted Williams as saying, “As we near the final budget vote, it has become clear to me that this budget ignores some of the most critical elements of reducing NYPD’s funding and redefining public safety. Unless it meets those needs, I will use my Charter authority as Public Advocate under Ch. 58, Section 1518 to prevent the budget from being executed during the final tax warrant process.”
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