Mayor de Blasio, who already has a tense relationship with the NYPD, gave them another blow by slashing their annual budget by $1 billion. While the mayor did his best to appease protestors and the Black Lives Matter movement, he was criticized by the left that his action did not go far enough. On the other side, he has now angered the NYPD and their supporters. Mayor de Blasio, once again, is under fire as he tries to bring peace to the city.
In a statement, the city council defended the decision, “The council will be moving forward with hearings and legislation in July to ensure a just transition away from law enforcement in schools, homelessness and mental health so that we can make certain that his is not just a budget shift.” Mayor de Blasio, in hope to assuage his critics, added that “the future will involve a lot more reform.”
The Police Benevolent Association has made it clear during weeks of calls to de-fund the police that any cuts will make the city more unsafe. The Police Benevolent Association President said in response, “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.”
But advocates like Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez believes this budget cut is not enough. In a statement before the cuts, the congresswoman said, “De-funding police means de funding 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.”
A side note: In an interview with Anderson Cooper in January 2019 about the use of her “fuzzy math,” the Congresswoman said, “”If people want to really blow up one figure here or one word there, I would argue that they’re missing the forest for the trees,” she said. I think that there’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right.” She continued that being “morally right” is better than being “factually right.”
White House Spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany has responded to AOC’s call to totally de-fund the police. In a briefing, she told reporters, “It’s unacceptable when you have people like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez really suggesting where the Democratic Party stands today because taking a billion away from the NYPD wasn’t enough for her. She wants to take it all away. She doesn’t want police officers and that’s a really unacceptable proposition.” President Trump has made his stance in supporting the NYPD, which he called “the city’s finest,” and has commented on the mayor’s testy relationship with the police. Former Press Secretary Sean Spicer also responded to the budget cut, suggesting the first thing to go should be the mayor’s security detail.
What to watch for: The NYPD allegedly planned to strike on July 4th as suggestions of a budget cut began to circulate. City violence is increasing, and individuals have been shooting fireworks in Manhattan and the boroughs. Many retail stores are forced to pay thousands of dollars for damages done during the George Floyd protests beginning of June. The pride of the NYPD, and the tense relationship with the mayor, could lead to further disruptions if the police fighting back against the cuts. Furthermore, Mayor de Blasio will have to fight against those on his side of the aisle who don’t think has gone far enough, and therefore, he might take more action against the NYPD, and put plans in place to totally de-fund them.