New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez professed Tuesday that “defunding police means defunding police” and the proposed City Council budget cuts to the New York City Police Department is not sufficient.
“Defunding police means defunding police,” the New York City Democrat said in a statement Tuesday to the Gotham Gazette. “It does not mean budget tricks or funny math. It does not mean moving school police officers from the NYPD budget to the Department of Education’s budget, so the exact same police remain in schools.”
“It does not mean counting overtime cuts as cuts, even as NYPD ignores every attempt by City Council to curb overtime spending and overspends on overtime anyways,” she continued. “It does not mean hiring more police officers while cutting more than $800 million from NYC schools. If these reports are accurate, then these proposed ‘cuts’ to the NYPD’s budget are a disingenuous illusion.”
According to the Gazette, the new NYPD budget would reduce the department’s uniformed division by canceling an incoming class of 1,163 cadets. Additionally, it slashes $350 million overtime spending and includes cuts to traffic enforcement, vehicle purchases, contracts, among other items totaling $512 million in reductions.
With the school safety and school crossing guards eliminated from the NYPD’s budget, which costs $483 million, a $1 billion agreement was reached by New York’s city council and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The budget cut to the NYPD is happening at a time when the number of shootings in the City of New York has skyrocketed leaving 100 people injured or killed across the metropolitan region in the past nine days.
Ocasio-Cortez, however, argued the crime spike is a result of poverty as opposed to restrictions, regulations, and or any budget cuts placed on the NYPD.
“When you talk about these kinds of increases in crime, there is a direct correlation here between economic desperation and what’s motivating people to commit petty crimes– small theft. When you can’t afford food and you need to eat, these are the kinds of things that happen. And so when we decide to dump even more money into policing, in response to these crimes of economic desperation that doesn’t address the root cause of economic desperation,” the New York Democrat said during an interview Monday night.
She continued, “So if we want to invest in these crime rates going down, we need to be investing in continued unemployment [insurance]. We need to be expanding stimulus payment relief and response relief for people…we need to make sure that people aren’t on the brink of eviction,” adding, “All of these are the contributing factors that are correlating with a spike in crime and while we can be talking about police budgets, at the end of the day, we need to solve the root causes of crime, which is poverty.”