New York City lawmakers approve $1 billion cut to police department

The cut resulted in outcry from police supporters and those who said in was just an accounting move.

Updated: July 1, 2020 - 4:39pm

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The New York City Council has approved a more than $88 billion budget that includes a $1 billion cut to the police department, the first cut to the NYPD budget since Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio assumed office in 2014. 

Critics say the cut, approved late Tuesday, is really a reshuffling of the money or that it will only make officers' work more difficult considering they'll have fewer resources. Tensions surrounding the police budget reached a flashpoint this week when protesters outside City Hall clashed with police.

The money taken from the police department will be distributed among summer youth programs, education, and family and social services. 

Protesters have demanded that cuts to the NYPD’s nearly $6 billion spending go to education and social services but say this budget just moves money to different agencies and is creative accounting, not real cuts.

The city made the decision to cancel July’s police academy class, which will result in close to 1,100 fewer police officers. About $500 million will be redirected toward youth programs, and the city will reduce the overtime hours of police.

Patrick Lynch, the president of the Police Benevolent Association, the police union, slammed the city’s proposed budget cuts. 

“Shootings more than doubled again last week,” he said in a statement. “Even right now, the NYPD doesn’t have enough manpower to shift cops to one neighborhood without making another neighborhood less safe. 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.”

De Blasio said New Yorkers should have faith in the police department’s ability to control overtime because the department is well run.