NEW YORK, NY – Following the budget vote Friday, Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) and NYC Budget Justice campaign thank Council Members who stood with New Yorkers and voted NO on the Mayor’s FY24 Budget for failing to protect New York’s most vulnerable communities and pumping money into an already bloated NYPD budget.
CPR released the following statement from spokesperson James Innis, Public Safety Campaigner at New York Communities for Change:
“We thank the City Council members who stood with New Yorkers and voted against this dangerous budget. Our communities are in crisis and need care, not criminalization and this budget will be a death sentence for many New Yorkers. Mayor Adams continues to make deep cuts to critical services while increasing the NYPD spending by nearly $2 billion dollars.
“The cruel and dangerous budget supports violent policing, including specialized units such as the Strategic Response Group (SRG), VICE, and the Neighborhood Safety Teams (NST). The budget also continues to prioritize school police over the needs of students, and fails to protect and invest in critical social services that provide real community safety for New Yorkers, especially in the areas of mental health, housing, and education.
“The mayor claims that the city is broke, but he is increasing the NYPD budget to a record high of more than $12 billion in spending. Mayor Adams has repeatedly failed to rein in NYPD overspending in overtime and remove NYPD from social service roles. The mayor cannot continue to funnel money into the NYPD’s bloated budget as he makes significant and harmful cuts to services supporting homelessness, housing assistance, reentry, food assistance, mental health and education programs. This is especially harmful to New Yorkers who are Black, Latinx, immigrants, LGBTQIA+ and other people of color living in communities that are over-policed and under-resourced.
“We appreciate the elected officials who are fighting for communities and know that real community safety does not come from increased policing, but from deep investments in our social safety net. It is urgent that the mayor get serious about a real vision for public safety that includes investments in community services rather than in criminalization and policing, as well as meaningful police transparency and accountability legislation. Our lives literally depend on it.”
Council Members who voted NO on the Mayor’s FY24 Budget for failing to protect New York’s most vulnerable communities and pumping money into an already bloated NYPD budget:
- CM Alexa Aviles
- CM Charles Barron
- CM Tiffany Caban
- CM Carmen De La Rosa
- CM Jennifer Gutierrez
- CM Shahana Hanif
- CM Christopher Marte
- CM Sandy Nurse
- CM Chi Osse
- CM Lincoln Restler
- CM Kristin Richardson-Jordan
This year, CPR’s Budget Justice Campaign released a new FY24 platform called A New York City Budget for Safety & Dignity that calls for cuts to the NYPD’s bloated $12B budget and overreach and demands bold investments in housing, mental health, education, youth services and other public infrastructure that will actually increase the immediate and long-term safety of all New Yorkers. The city is facing serious problems that will not be addressed with increased policing.
Many community organizations released statements denouncing Mayor Adams’ heartless budget priorities.
“A City budget that cuts critical resources like housing, public education, and mental healthcare is a death sentence to the residents of our communities who rely on those critical services. While quick deaths caused by gun violence are sensationalized, our communities also experience a slow death through the systemic erosion that this administration is perpetuating through these cuts. This budget violence is generational and has resulted in Black and Brown neighborhoods around the City where surviving, not thriving, is the norm. We deserve a future where our people can afford quality and dignified housing; where they have more access to mental healthcare in a mental health crisis than they do to armed police. While Mayor Adams may see an increase to the NYPD budget to over $12 Billion, we know that the safest communities have the most life-affirming resources, not pathways to incarceration. We demand a budget that prioritizes thriving Black futures over systems of Black death.” – Darian X , Lead Campaign Organizer at The Brooklyn Movement Center
“Over the past two years Mayor Adams has systematically expanded the power, scope and budget of the NYPD while defunding critical services our communities need for safety and wellness. The FY24 budget takes this to an unacceptable and inhumane extreme by ballooning the NYPD’s already massively bloated budget to over $12billion – an over $1billion expansion that was hidden from the City Council and the public until the last minute. This means New Yorkers are being forced to pay billions of tax dollars for increased NYPD sweeps of homeless encampments, NYPD criminalization of those struggling with mental illness, Strategic Response Group attacks on racial justice protests, and unconstitutional and racist stops by the mayor’s revamp of the Anti-Crime Unit – the so-called Neighborhood Safety Teams, not to mention the salaries of the officers who kill and abuse us, like those that killed Kawaski Trawick, Allan Feliz, Antonio Williams, Delrawn Small, and Ronald Anthony Smith, who the Mayor has yet to fire from the NYPD. We must and will continue to fight for a new transformative approach to public safety that prioritizes meeting New Yorkers’ needs, not criminalizing them.” –Loyda Colon (they/them), Executive Director Justice Committee
“The Mayor claims to care about public safety yet chooses to invest the bulk of our taxpayer dollars in systems of policing and incarceration—which fail and endanger our communities—and divest from the services that actually keep us safe and thriving. Supported by our communities, progressive council members fought hard to protect our city and our values from the mayor, and won some important concessions. But at the end of the day, the mayor’s budget is an insult. When our neighbors go hungry because there’s no staff to process SNAP paperwork, blame Mayor Adams. When your public school cuts teaching staff, it’s because of Adams. We deserve better.” – Leo Ferguson, Jews For Racial & Economic Justice (JFREJ)
“We cannot continue the disparate policing of communities that are so often denied adequate housing, mental health resources, educational spaces, workforce development and employment opportunities. Mayor Adams has consistently pushed for cuts to critical social services while shielding the NYPD budget from decreased funding. These budget priorities have real, harmful consequences. There is no evidence that the aggressive and racialized policing we see in some communities makes them safer, and in fact, police violence and discriminatory policing undermine public safety and civil liberties. This very problem was recently highlighted by the federal independent monitor, who found overwhelming racial disparities and a high rate of unconstitutional stops among the NYPD’s Neighborhood Safety Teams activities. This is not what true public safety looks like. What makes communities safer is culturally inclusive reinvestment. By making long-term investments in youth services, healthcare, and non-police interventions, we as a city, can build lasting change that will uplift and empower our communities while simultaneously making them safer for everyone.” – Obi Afriyie, Community Organizer at the Legal Defense Fund
“It is truly disheartening and disappointing that the NYC Mayor persists in allocating funding to the VICE units of the NYPD, despite their troubling track record. Vice officers have subjected Trans Black and brown people who perceived or engaged in sex work, to harassment, sexual assault, and acts of terror. By approving a budget that earmarks 25.1 million dollars for these units, the city is perpetuating harm, criminalization, and exploitation of Trans and Queer lives. We demand that the city takes decisive action to dismantle the VICE units and redirect those resources towards supporting all communities impacted by the Vice units.” – Mateo Guerrero, Trans Justice and Leadership Program Manager Make the Road NY.
“It’s a shame that today, in the year 2023 the Mayor of New York City – who claims to care about public safety – can present a budget for two years in a row now that ignores the root causes of public safety risks like poverty and housing instability. While continuing the same failed and racist policies of over-policing and under-resourcing our communities, which are the communities that need the most investments into. It’s a shame, and a sad day for the future of New York City”. –Lucas Sanchez, Co-Executive Direction of New York Communities for Change
“Working class communities have had to bear the brunt of Mayor Adam’s austerity budget. This new budget is no different, with cuts to schools, CUNY, and other essential services and needs, and instead investment in policing. We’re calling on the City Council to vote down this budget, and fight for one that prioritizes working class communities.” –Simran Thind, Community Organizer, DRUM -Desis Rising Up & Moving.
“We have long called for an end to criminalization and investment in care, yet this budget deal guts our social services safety net and expands the budget of NYPD. When we are evicted and trapped in a broken shelter system, overdoses continue to rise, our students and teachers run out of learning tools, and the only people who are paid to respond are cops, it is Mayor Eric Adams we will blame. The mayor’s conservative logic is incompatible with the lived experiences of low-income, working class New Yorkers and does not bode well for 2024. Despite our rallying, advocacy, organizing, and numerous evidence-based reports published supporting our recommendations, our demands for a budget that invests in communities and care were met with little to no response. Mayor Eric Adams dealt the city council a bad hand and we simply cannot accept a strong-armed city budget that disregards the plight of our communities.” –Jawanza Williams, Director of Organizing VOCAL-NY
“The FY 2024 budget is robbing Black and Brown students like me of the care we deserve. We’ve been fighting for so long for our elected leaders to expand mental health and restorative justice programs to make our schools a safe and supportive environment for us to learn. They chose to fund the expansion of our already massive school police force, including 600 vacant school cop positions, instead of the programs we actually need. Our elected leaders care more about expanding a criminalizing system than investing in our futures. We will keep fighting until our voices are heard.” –Caroline Ramirez, Youth leader with the Urban Youth Collaborative
About Communities United for Police Reform
Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) is an unprecedented campaign to end discriminatory policing practices in New York, and to build a lasting movement that promotes public safety and reduces reliance on policing. CPR runs coalitions of over 200 local, statewide and national organizations, bringing together a movement of community members, lawyers, researchers and activists to work for change. The partners in this campaign come from all 5 boroughs, from all walks of life and represent many of those most unfairly targeted by the NYPD.