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We Need a Transformative Approach to Public Safety –– NYC’s FY23 Budget Is Not It

In response to New York City Council passing FY23 Budget, Justice Committee released the following statement:

"Last night, the New York City Council passed an FY23 budget that funnels $11billion taxpayer dollars into the NYPD while making devastating cuts to education and failing to invest in the services, infrastructure, and non-police anti-violence programs Black, Latinx, and other communities of color need for safety and well-being.

We are all concerned about safety in our communities and it is becoming increasingly urgent that we dedicate resources to implementing new, innovative, transformative public safety strategies. We commend courageous members of the City Council for successfully stopping an NYPD headcount increase and ensuring greater NYPD financial transparency, but this is far from enough. The FY23 budget is a continuation of the status quo: It prioritizes throwing money at a militarized police force that routinely abuses New Yorkers rather than investing in life-saving services for our pandemic-devastated communities.

Merely restoring funding for needed services to pre-pandemic levels is woefully insufficient. In the face of decades of divestment, our communities need bold investments in housing, education, jobs, and healthcare to combat generational inequity. Instead, investing in policing and criminalization over people will only lead to greater poverty and inequity, factors that diminish safety and give rise to increased violence.

New Yorkers deserve to have our tax dollars devoted to meeting the needs of our communities, not to criminalizing them. Yet, every year, taxpayers are forced to shell out millions of dollars to pay the salaries of officers who kill and brutalize New Yorkers. Despite lauded campaign promises, Mayor Eric Adams has yet to take any significant action towards police accountability, ignoring New Yorkers’ clear demands to fire the officers who killed Delrawn Small, Allan Feliz, Kawaski Trawick, Antonio Williams, and Eric Garner and those who brutalized Mercedes Pope. In stark contradiction, the City Council has just approved a budget that funds Adams’ failed, police-reliance approach to public safety, including his revamp of the the notoriously brutal Anti-Crime Unit, the likes of which murdered Amadou Diallo, Carlos Lopez Jr, Sean Bell, Ramarley Graham, Shantel Davis, Kimani Gray, Eric Garner, Saheed Vassell, and Antonio Williams.

True safety will never come from policing and locking up our people. It will come from holding abusive officers accountable, making historic levels of investment in non-police anti-violence programs, and ensuring we all have what we need to survive. New Yorkers deserve better. Our fight for#NYCBudgetJustice continues."

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