Ocasio-Cortez dismisses proposed $1B cut: ‘Defunding police means defunding police’ 

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said New York City’s proposed $1 billion cut from the police department budget tiptoes around demands from activists who are asking for a reduced police presence.

Though the plan proposed by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) cuts one-sixth of the New York Police Department (NYPD) budget, activists note that much of it would be transferred to other city departments, including the Department of Education, where it could pay for police in schools. Activists have advocated for removing officers from schools altogether.

“Defunding police means defunding police,” the congresswoman said in a statement. “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.”

De Blasio said at a press conference Monday that his office presented a budget to the New York City Council over the weekend that would “achieve a billion dollars in savings” for New York police.

Anthonine Pierre, a spokesperson for Communities United for Police Reform, said in a local TV interview that de Blasio is “doing funny math and playing the PR games he always plays” in the proposal.

“It seems like the mayor is trying to use the talking points of defunding the police without actually meeting the demands,” Pierre said. 

Calls to defund the police and put government funding toward other social services have gained traction in the weeks since the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police. Mayors in San Francisco and Los Angeles have pledged to cut police budgets, while city councils in places such as Washington, D.C., have passed a slate of reform measures to enhance law enforcement oversight. 

Ocasio-Cortez said that cutting the police budget is not effective if it does not result in the reduced presence of law enforcement. 

“It does not mean counting overtime cuts as cuts, even as NYPD ignores every attempt by City Council to curb overtime spending and overspends on overtime anyways,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “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.”

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Bill de Blasio New York police reform

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