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Brooklyn Defender Services urges de Blasio to defund NYPD

June 24, 2020 Rob Abruzzese
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Brooklyn Defender Services announced on Tuesday that it has joined a movement called Occupy City Hall, and that its members plan on protesting outside of City Hall on Tuesday night to call upon Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council to cut the NYPD’s funding.

“We have until June 30 to pressure the city to cut at least $1 billion from next year’s NYPD budget,” said Executive Director Lisa Schreibersdorf in a letter to supporters. “Urge Mayor de Blasio and the New York City Council to cut the NYPD’s budget and shift funding to real social services in communities hardest hit by racist policing.”

Protests have been going on in New York City and across the country for nearly a month since George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, who held his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as Floyd pleaded for his life. Protestors have also been motivated by the police killings of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and many others.

Lisa Schreibersdorf, executive director of Brooklyn Defender Services, sent out an announcement to supporters on Tuesday to rally protesters outside of City Hall to call for defunding the NYPD. Photo: Caroline Ourso/Brooklyn Eagle

“When we say the names of those killed by police, we also hold in our hearts all of the Black people and other people of color who were brutalized by NYPD officers and survived, and those whose lives were upended and whose liberty was taken away by racist policing,” Schreibersdorf said.

The call to defund the police by protesters doesn’t mean abolishing the police, but instead it means reallocating or redirecting funding away from police departments toward other government agencies. The idea is that cops don’t have to respond to nonviolent calls for service like mental health-related issues or homeless services.

“Every day, our attorneys and social workers serve Black people and other New Yorkers of color who need housing and healthcare, including mental healthcare, and yet instead face arrest and prosecution, or worse,” Schreibersdorf said. “Whether they lose their jobs, housing, or custody of their children, or face deportation, or die at the hands of police in their homes or community, or guards in jail or prison, or by suicide in solitary confinement, the current system is not providing for their safety.”

The NYPD’s budget is approximately $6 billion per year, up nearly $1 billion per year since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office, according to The New York Times. Proposals want that cut to at least $5 billion in the upcoming budget that will be announced by the end of the month.

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  1. E.A.S.T.

    Thank you for highlighting this important statement of solidarity by BDS. But let’s be clear: the call to defund the police by protesters ABSOLUTELY means abolishing the police. Nothing less.