The New York City Council voted Tuesday night to approve Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to slash nearly $1 billion from the city's police budget, and the city's top cop is none too thrilled and believes the council bowed to "mob rule."
New York City's budget debate has received more attention than usual this year as leftist Mayor de Blasio made cutting about $1 billion from the NYPD's $6 billion operation budget a priority. The ongoing national debate over police reform coupled with the hit to the city's tax revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic (and the government-imposed shutdown) made the budget battle extra contentious.
After weeks of national attention, the council approved the 2021 budget Tuesday that includes a cut of $484 million from NYPD funds, plus a transfer of another $354 million away from police funding to other city agencies, the New York Times said.
The budget also eliminated $537 million in planned capital spending, de Blasio said, according to the New York Post.
Not surprisingly, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea was not pleased — and he made his feelings clear Wednesday morning.
"You're seeing now, mob rule," Shea said of the council's vote to acquiesce to protests and riots demanding the defunding of police.
"You're seeing the City Council bow to mob rule," Shea told "Good Day New York" Wednesday. "And let's mark the date on the calendar and how long it's going to be before we're having a conversation about New Yorkers crying out for more police. And I think that day is coming."
Shea stopped short of saying the budget agreement would cripple the NYPD but did say that it would be a "significant challenge" for his officers.
He also said that because of the current environment surrounding policing and morale, there could well be a higher-than-average number of retirements.
Many notable voices on the left, including de Blasio and socialist U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, have been clamoring for the city to take an ax to the NYPD budget. Many liberals, including Ocasio-Cortez, were not thrilled with the budget deal the City Council made.
"Defunding police means defunding police," Ocasio-Cortez said. "This is not a victory. The fight to defund policing continues."
A recent poll revealed that 47% of New York City voters opposed cutting police funding, while 41% supported the move.