LETTER from FAMILIES OF NEW YORKERS KILLED BY NYPD
To Mayor de Blasio, NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson & NYC Council Members
WE NEED YOU TO DEFUND NYPD by AT LEAST $1 BILLION &
REINVEST THAT $1 BILLION plus all related savings for OUR COMMUNITIES NOW
-- No funny math. Cut NYPD FY21 expense budget directly by at least $1 Billion --
Dear Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson and all New York City Council Members –
We are the parents, siblings, aunts, and other family members whose children, siblings, nieces, and loved ones were murdered by police in New York City over the last almost five decades. We are also health care workers, union members, caterers, and more.
We love NYC and help make the city better - even though NYC government has failed us and often continues to disrespect us when it comes to the murder of our loved ones by the NYPD.
We’re demanding that you defund the NYPD’s bloated budget by at least $1 billion NOW – and reinvest that $1 billion or more and all related savings to our communities IMMEDIATELY. These cuts and reinvestments need to happen in the FY21 year that starts July 1 – not over future years or periods where we don’t know if you’ll keep your promises.
Many of you have marched with us, come to our rallies or said the names of our loved ones. You’ve passed legislation and said the names of our loved ones. We’ve been in meetings and at gatherings with many of you when you have said the names of our loved ones. We want to be clear – if you are to continue to say our loved ones' names, we expect that you will defund the NYPD by at least $1 billion starting July 1 and make sure that money and all related savings go to programs and help for our communities. If you are serious about helping us fight for justice for our loved ones, then help us make sure that others don’t have to live through the pain of losing someone at the hands of the NYPD. This is a time where we need real action – not just words.
We families organized a march calling on you to defund the NYPD on June 9th. Some of us have also been to the Occupy City Hall and helped lead another #DefundNYPD march on June 25th. Our marches calling for #DefundNYPD have been attended by thousands who agree that the NYPD must be defunded, NYC must stop defunding Black, Latino and other communities of color, and YOU - our city elected officials - must stop giving special treatment and protections to the police.
We’re still in a pandemic and we need to act like it. This is a time where we need bold, principled leadership from all of you to cut the NYPD budget’s bloated $6 billion budget by at least $1 billion – not funny math or budget musical chairs. Cutting at least $1 billion from the NYPD expense budget directly will produce more savings from other areas of the City budget that could mean more than $2 billion being reinvested to our communities – and mean the difference between life and death for some of us.
We’re all teaching ourselves about the city budget tricks that have defunded our communities for years – and we’re watching all of you to see what your actions will be in this budget fight, not just your words. In a matter of days - by the June 30th deadline where you’re supposed to finish the FY21 budget - we’ll know if you fought for our communities or whether you will let the NYPD continue to be treated as if they’re above the law, even in the budget.
Here are some specific messages for each of you:
Mayor de Blasio – How dare you talk about laying off 22,000 city workers unless you get concessions from unions because you want to find another $1 billion in budget savings. Stop protecting the NYPD and cut their FY21 expense budget directly by at least $1 billion – fire and layoff abusive officers and take the almost $300 million the city spends on police brutality lawsuits out of the NYPD’s budget instead of hiding it somewhere else. Stop letting the NYPD run the city and make decisions for you – moving police from the NYPD to the Department of Education or somewhere else won’t result in savings that can be reinvested in our communities – it’s just budget musical chairs. When we say get police out of schools, we mean ALL police. Many of us are parents with children in the schools and we need our children surrounded by love, teachers, guidance counselors and systems that protect them – that’s not police.
Speaker Johnson – We’re glad you said you thought you could cut at least $1 billion from the NYPD budget but words aren’t actions and it seems like you were using funny math. We know the NYPD has a fringe and pension rate that’s close to 100% (we wish we had that!) -- and those monies aren’t part of the NYPD’s direct budget – they’re in another part of the city budget, just like for most other agencies. We’re demanding that at least $1 billion be cut directly from the NYPD FY21 expense budget – that will create savings of much more than $1 billion like fringe and pensions that can be put back into our communities. No funny math. No budget musical chairs. Take the $1 billion directly from the NYPD budget – that will give us more than $2 billion to reinvest in communities.
Council Members – Some of you have stood by us when we asked and as we have been fighting for our loved ones killed by the NYPD. Some of you have not. We need all of you to fight for us in this budget, not just say at rallies or in your newsletters that you support at least $1 billion in cuts to the NYPD budget. We know you’re not in the negotiating room when the Mayor and Speaker and their staffs make final decisions on the budget so we need you to fight NOW like you’re fighting to prevent another life from being taken by the NYPD because that’s what’s at stake. We need you to make clear that you will not vote to approve a budget that doesn’t cut the NYPD budget by AT LEAST $1 billion and that doesn’t reinvest all of those and related monies back to our Black, Latino and other communities of color. Will you make this commitment to vote NO on any budget that doesn’t do this? We are watching what you do and we will be watching your votes.
We – the families of New Yorkers killed by the NYPD - are part of the #DefundNYPD movement because we know better than anyone what it means to keep paying police who kill, brutalize, threaten and harass our communities.
If you need more information or ideas about how to cut the NYPD’s budget by at least $1 billion you should read this report that includes the millions that we and other taxpayers have had to pay because you have let the NYPD keep police who murder and brutalize and threaten us on city payroll, year after year.
Thank you for reading our letter. We hope you fight to make sure that we can be proud of you and applaud you when the FY21 budget is passed.
Iris Baez, mother of Anthony Baez (killed by NYPD in the Bronx in1994)
Kadiatou Diallo, mother of Amadou Diallo (killed by NYPD in the Bronx in 1999)
Constance Malcolm, mother of Ramarley Graham (killed by NYPD in the Bronx in 2012)
Natasha Duncan, sister of Shantel Davis, and Angie Hicks, aunt of Shantel Davis (killed by NYPD in Brooklyn in 2012)
Hertencia Petersen, aunt of Akai Gurley (killed by NYPD in Brooklyn in 2014)
Hawa Bah, mother of Mohamed Bah (killed by NYPD in Manhattan in 2012)
Kisha Walker, godsister of Sean Bell (killed by NYPD in Queens in 2006)
Victor Dempsey, brother of Delrawn Small (killed by NYPD in Brooklyn in 2016)
Eric & Lorna Vassell, father and mother of Saheed Vassell (killed by NYPD in Brooklyn in 2018)
Margarita Rosario, mother of Anthony Rosario and aunt of Hilton Vega, killed by NYPD in the Bronx in 1995)
Moses Pinero, uncle of Noel Polanco (killed by NYPD in Queens in 2012)
Carol Gray, mother of Kimani Gray (killed by NYPD in Brooklyn in 2013)