On Monday, Janos Marton, a civil rights attorney and candidate for Manhattan District Attorney, released a letter urging candidates running for office in 2021 to promise not to take campaign funds from law enforcement unions, and to cut the NYPD budget by $1 billion over four years. Twenty-eight Thirty-three candidates, including Marton and Dianne Morales, a candidate running for Mayor, have made the commitment to both pledges.
Full letter, and individual statements, below:
Given the unprecedented challenges brought by COVID-19 and the resulting economic depression, now is the time to invest heavily in resources to support New York’s most vulnerable communities, including housing, education, and healthcare. In the face of enormous budget challenges, the NYPD’s $6 billion budget must be dramatically reduced in order to pay for the programs our city so desperately needs.
Under this administration, the NYPD has expanded its role significantly, whether in schools, policing on the subway, or directly contacting those experiencing homelessness, with harmful results. Even before COVID-19, many community groups have called for curtailing the NYPD’s role and budget. This moment necessitates it.
Finally, the events of the past week have underscored the enormous distrust between the NYPD and communities most harmed by over-policing and police violence. The resulting response by NYPD to these protests has shown that no amount of de-escalation training, no amount of reform will result in the accountability and safety our communities are desperately calling for. The solution must be a commitment to investing in those communities, not in more police.
As candidates for New York City office in 2021, we will have to govern based on choices the City Council makes during this year’s budget process. Therefore:
- We are calling for the City Council to reduce the NYPD’s operating budget by one billion dollars over the next four years, and commit to supporting these reductions once in office. This is simply a return to the NYPD budget when this administration began, and it is in line with the demands made by Communities United for Police Reform and over 100 ally organizations. We believe this can largely be achieved through:
- a temporary hiring freeze (followed by gradual attrition of force size and the elimination of police in schools)= $500 million over four years
- a reduction in overtime spending, which now totals nearly $800 million a year = $400 million over four years
- cutting unnecessary new programs & capital expenses, such as the more than $200 million in capital projects earmarked for next year = $100 million over four years
- We are rejecting all political campaign contributions from law enforcement unions, including police, correction, and court officer unions, and call on all candidates for New York City office in 2021 to reject said contributions and donate any contributions they’ve already taken to bail funds or similar causes.
This budget demand will not by itself bring the necessary oversight and accountability to the NYPD, nor will it alone lead to a morally just budget. But it is a start. We stand in support of the current Councilmembers who are already leading on this issue, and strongly urge their colleagues to follow suit.
Finally, we thank the Black community leaders and activists who have led on these issues for decades. We would not be in a position to make this demand if not for their advocacy.
Janos Marton, Candidate for District Attorney (Manhattan)
“Throughout this campaign, we’ve made clear that jails, prisons, and policing aren’t the answer to society’s problems. Providing people mental healthcare, substance use treatment, and economic opportunities like the Summer Youth Employment Program will do more to keep us safe than handcuffs and cages. This demand is a first step towards a morally just budget.”
Dianne Morales, Candidate for Mayor
Kristin Richardson Jordan, City Council District 9 (Manhattan)
“This is a step towards making the world that our children deserve, less cops more counselors.”
Johanna Garcia, City Council District 10 (Manhattan)
Uniqua Smith, Candidate for City Council District 16 (The Bronx)
“Mayor de Blasio says that NYC is facing a $7.4b loss in tax revenue and that some municipal services must be slashed. Slash $1b from the NYPD budget, and delegate the funds to provide economic empowerment to the communities of color which have long borne the brunt of NYPD’s harassment & discrimination”
Amanda Farias, Candidate for City Council District 18 (The Bronx)
“It’s been almost six years since the murders of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, and little has changed in how poor communities of color are being policed. Instead of continuing to spend billions of dollars on ineffective programs that merely provide cover for the expanded use of policing, we must move, instead, to significantly divest from police precincts. Now more than ever, we must reinvest resources into community-based initiatives that can produce real safety and security without the violence and racism inherent in the criminal justice system. It is for these reasons why when elected into office, I commit to supporting the reduction of NYPD’s operating budget and partnering alongside the community to create real solutions and justice for New Yorkers.”
Darlene Jackson, Candidate for City Council District 18 (Bronx)
“I urge the city council to invest in the community resources laid out by the #buildCOMMUNITIES platform, divest in law enforcement and invest in resources that would better serve public safety and health such as in school counselors, crisis intervention teams, crisis respite centers, affordable housing and affordable healthcare. #NYCBudgetJustice.”
Regina Edwards, Candidate for City Council District 36 (Brooklyn)
“All of us have a part to play in tearing down this system of injustice and building one better suited to protect our communities. Defunding and demilitarizing our police force is a great place to start, but we also need to refocus the funding they are receiving for training on de-escalation tactics that will make us all safer. This is a moment and a movement for a better world for our children.”
Brandon West, Candidate for City Council District 39 (Brooklyn)
“As a former budget analyst, it’s obvious to me that real change can only happen when we prioritize healing our communities and not racist mass incarceration through the NYPD. We need a class of Councilmembers who are committed to the principals put out by CPR and the activist community behind #NYCBUDGETJUSTICE.”
Anthony Beckford, Candidate for City Council District 45 (Brooklyn)
“The NYPD has been given a militarized budget that has been used to surveil and harass Black and Brown community members. Their brutalization has escalated under the de Blasio administration and under the command of Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. There must be accountability and the people are demanding it. As the next City Council member of the 45th District, which is Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Marine Park, Flatlands and Kensington, I will be sure to introduce adequate police accountability legislation in my first 30 days to bring about the justice that we have been fighting so hard for.”
Chris Sosa, Candidate for City Council District 5 (Manhattan)
“The New York City Council must demonstrate leadership in the vacuum created by our failed mayor’s incompetent administration. This begins with a dramatic reallocation of funds away from policing and toward the struggling communities and small businesses trying to stay afloat through a global pandemic. Now is the time for bold leadership as we work to heal our city.”
Kim Moscaritolo, Candidate for City Council District 5 (Manhattan)
Corey Ortega, Candidate for City Council District 7 (Manhattan)
This is the first step towards defunding over policing and reinvesting in our communities. A budget reduction for the NYPD allows us to reinvest in community programs like the Summer Youth Employment Program that helps many of our neighbors and is a source of income for many of our communities.
Maria Ordoñez, Candidate for City Council District 7 (Manhattan)
“It is unacceptable that funding has been cut for environmental programs, education, and youth programs; yet the NYPD budget has gone untouched. We need to stand in solidarity with George Floyd, defund the police, and support our communities!”
Shaun Abreu, Candidate for City Council District 7 (Manhattan)
“The moment we are living in necessitates a reduction to the NTPD budget in order to pay for the programs and social services that will serve communities hit hardest by COVI-19. This action is not only a matter of fiscal responsibility, but of racial justice and educational equity.”
Michael Beltzer, Candidate for City Council District 18 (Bronx)
“Money must be shifted from telling the community what it can’t do to empowering communities to be self determined.”
Christopher Fuentes-Padilla, Candidate for City Council District 23 (Queens)
Felicia Singh, Candidate for City Council District 32 (Queens)
“A large part of centering Black lives and liberation needs to be about redistributing money in our city budget. We have a lot of work to do in the rehabilitation of our most marginalized communities which can happen from reallocating money to save youth development programs like SYEP, hiring more guidance counselors and social workers and investing in the development of anti-racist curriculum.”
Whitney Hu, Candidate for City Council District 38 (Brooklyn)
“This is the only the beginning in efforts to de-militarize and take a stand against the combative police state NYPD holds over NYC. Proud to also be a part of the effort to ensure we elect representatives who are unafraid to speak out against the NYPD and actually represent their constituents. New Yorkers stood up this weekend, we need to keep standing up for them.”
Shahana Hanif, Candidate for City Council District 39 (Brooklyn)
When we say Black Lives Matter, we are committing to dismantling the police state we live in, carceral systems, and surveillance programs that target and criminalize Black people. This also means building a city where Black leadership is centered, especially the leadership of Black women, and that we learn from Black movements to build safe and livable neighborhoods.
I commit to slashing $1B from the NYPD budget to invest in services for domestic violence prevention, programs for youth and community infrastructure, and for homeless, incarcerated, and disabled New Yorkers. I also commit to advocating for the removal of metal detectors from our schools, repealing 50-a, and advocating for an end to Qualified Immunity for perpetrators of police brutality.
Seth Rosen, Candidate for City Council District 6 (Manhattan)
“As an LGBTQ+ advocate, attorney, and father of two black children, I have seen first hand what over-policing has done to our city. It is time to use our tax dollars to invest directly in supporting the diverse and courageous communities of New York City.”
Dan Cohen, Candidate for City Council District 7 (Manhattan)
Marti Gould Cummings, Candidate for City Council District 7 (Manhattan)
“The NYPD is here to protect and serve our city and several actions taken by the department, including Commissioner Shea, show that we need reform and a new budget immediately. We must make cuts to the NYPD’s budget and fund programs like SYEP and put money back into communities in need, education and social work. Demilitarize the police!
Jessica Haller, Candidate for City Council District 11 (The Bronx)
“Our budget reflects our priorities. My priority is our children’s future: education, public health, and resilience.”
Jesse Cerrotti, Candidate for City Council District 22 (Queens)
“’For too long have our politicians complied with over-policing. For too long have our politicians complied with disproportionate-policing. Whereas ‘serve and protect’ equate to ‘target and oppress,’ let it be resolved that we Defund The Police.’
Nick Roloson, Candidate for City Council District 22 (Queens)
Elizabeth Adams, Candidate for City Council District 33 (Brooklyn)
Justin Krebs, Candidate for City Council District 39 (Brooklyn)
“We need to invest in strengthening our schools, health care system, mental health support, job training, environmental impact, and so much more—not in militarizing our police, surveilling communities of color, and criminalizing Black and brown New Yorkers. We can have a real conversation about our city’s priorities, while also taking a critical step—along with heightened oversight and accountability, strict limits on surveillance, and policies to demilitarize the force—toward transforming the impact of policing in New York.”
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