ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM-TV) – 18 News’ Zach Wheeler spoke to author, and political analyst Dr. Stephen Coleman on the growing movement to defund police departments. The interview comes as New York City Council is expected to make big cuts to the police department in the nation’s biggest city.
NEW YORK (AP) — New York City lawmakers were expected Tuesday to approve shifting $1 billion from policing to education and social services in the coming year, acknowledging protesters’ demands to cut police spending — but falling short of what activists sought.
City Council members were due to debate and vote on the plan Tuesday night, with time running short ahead of the budget year that begins Wednesday. Mayor Bill de Blasio supports the $88.2 billion spending plan and Council Speaker Corey Johnson said he was confident it would pass the council, but he expected a lot of “no” votes from members who want to cut more from police.
The vote comes at an extraordinary moment when the nation’s biggest city is grappling with a $9 billion revenue loss due to the coronavirus pandemic and simultaneously with pressure to cut back on policing and invest more in community and social programs.
Protesters have been camped outside City Hall, insisting that the city slash $1 billion from the New York Police Department’s budget amid a nationwide campaign to “defund” police — a movement animated by outrage over the deaths of George Floyd and other Black Americans at the hands of police.
The proposal did little to assuage the demonstrators. Many said they intended to stay outside City Hall indefinitely.
“We are being gaslit,” said activist Jawanza James Williams. “This movement is about so much more than the $1 billion, and this means they don’t understand what we’re saying.”
Activists say the budget needs to make a substantial, not symbolic, difference in advancing racial justice and curbing the size and power of the nation’s largest police force.
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