During a press conference on Sunday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he would be cutting funding to the New York City Police Department and diverting that money to social service programs, The New York Times reported.
The announcement comes in the midst of protests against police brutality that have filled New York's streets for more than 10 days, during which police have been accused of being violent with protesters.
Mayor de Blasio was not specific about how much money he would be cutting from the NYPD's funding, according to The New York Times. The NYPD is currently allocated $6 billion out of the $90 billion city budget, nearly 6 percent of the entire budget. De Blasio said that the details of the budget cuts were still being worked out and that they would be finalized before the budget deadline on July 1.
De Blasio went on to say that a portion of the money cut from the NYPD budget would be allocated to social service programs, especially programs focused on New York City youth, per The New York Times. However, he was not specific about which programs would be receiving increased funding. The mayor again stressed that the details of the budget were "subject to negotiation."Calls for police reform have come from both the public and de Blasio's own administration since protests started in the wake of George Floyd's death on Memorial Day. Employees from the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice sent de Blasio a statement on Saturday demanding that he enact sweeping police reforms, including a ban on chokeholds and neck restraints.
Protesters have also been demanding police reform and cuts to the NYPD's budget as part of a larger list of demands for reform in the city.
According to The New York Times, many believe that de Blasio's promise to cut funding is just lip service meant to appease protesters. Ed Mullins, the president of one of New York's police unions, said that he didn't think de Blasio would follow through. He pointed out that the mayor had been resistant to cutting the NYPD's budget as recently as Friday.
Mullins said he would "see what he [de Blasio] says on Monday and what his next decision is going to be."
When discussing the city's budget on Friday, de Blasio stated that he was unsure about cutting funding to the police force, The New York Times reported. He went on to say that unless the federal government can provide more assistance, several city agencies will have to deal with budget cuts.
At the time, he didn't make any indication that he would be announcing cuts to the NYPD's budget as a strategic move to allocate more funds to social service programs, so his announcement on Sunday was a reversal of his previous stance.