NEW YORK (77 WABC) — City Council leaders, led by Speaker Corey Johnson, are joining the chorus of supporters, calling for defunding the NYPD — $1 billion worth of cuts.
Council Member Donovan Richards, who represents several neighborhoods in southeast Queens, tells WABC Radio.com this is moment in time for an NYPD overhaul.
“We need to re-imagine what are our priorities as a city,” Richards said.
The cuts include reducing uniformed members through attrition and cutting overtime.
“Last year, the NYPD spent over $780 million on overtime costs alone,” Richards said. “…As we have this momentum, really have the NYPD reign in a lot of their efficiencies, and this is one way of ensuring that we do it.”
While Mayor de Blasio is in favor of, and started the process to defunding the police, the large price tag doesn’t sit well with him.
“The Mayor has said we’re committed to reprioritizing funding and looking for savings, but he does not believe a $1 billion cut is the way to maintain safety.” Mayor’s spokesperson Freddi Goldstein said.
However, Richards doesn’t believe has to be a choice between safety or police funding.
“I definitely don’t see us jeopardizing public safety during a time when crime is dipping,” Richards said.
But he said it’s important to invest in high-crime communities.
Yesterday, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea announced the Anti-Crime Unit is permanently disbanded and the 600 officers are getting shifted to others division.
Shea said the police needs to use more “guile” and less “brute force.” Richards called the Anti-Crime, a “rogue” unit.
“They throw people against the wall. Not all, but if you’re a black male, certainly you’d had an experience, most likely, with the Anti-Crime Units in your lifetime. And it’s not a pleasant experience,” Richards said. “Because there is no accountability.”
Richards said the City Council has until the end of June to make the cuts.