Mayor Plans To Shift $1B From NYPD, End Solitary Confinement At City Jails

Rich Lamb
June 29, 2020 - 2:01 pm
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    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday confirmed a plan was in the works to shift $1 billon away from the New York City Police Department.

    The announcement came one day before the mayor was set to negotiate the final budget details with the City Council.

    The mayor says he has already presented the Council his blueprint for the proposed budget cut. He hopes to have the money go to other community resources.

    “Shift resources to young people, to communities in a way it would help address some of these underlying issues that we know are the cause of so many problems in our society,” he said.

    WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb asked de Blasio if the cut to the NYPD budget is punitive, to which the mayor responded, “No, not at all.”

    “Every agency has had to go through a lot of cuts to begin with. Everyone's been going through the exercise. The NYPD did a hell of a good job saying, ‘Okay here's a bunch of things we could do while still keeping this city safe,’” the mayor said.

    De Blasio noted that the city is in a moment where officials have to address profound issues.

    That includes redistributing revenues to communities that need it the most and acknowledging that the NYPD is being treated in a specific manner. The NYPD recieves around $6 billion annually from New York City.

    Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association, responded to the proposed cut saying the mayor and City Council have "surrendered the city to lawlessness."

    "Mayor de Blasio's message to New Yorkers today was clear: you will have fewer cops on your streets," he said in a statement. "Shootings more than doubled again last week. Even right now, the NYPD doesn't have enough manpower to shift cops to one neighborhood without making another neighborhood less safe. We will say it again: the Mayor and the City Council have surrendered the city to lawlessness. Things won't improve until New Yorkers hold them responsible."

    De Blasio hopes to redistribute the budget without layoffs, but gave no guarantees. If implemented, layoffs would begin taking effect on Oct. 1.

    The mayor also noted that the city is moving to end solitary confinement in city jails following outcry over the death of transgender inmate Layleen Polanco

    On Friday, Mayor de Blasio announced 17 Department of Corrections officers will face discipline in Polanco’s death, which occurred after she suffered a number of seizures while in restrictive housing – a form of solitary confinement used at Rikers Island.

    Three officers and one captain have been suspended without pay.

    Starting immediately, inmates with medical conditions including seizures, asthma, heart, liver, and kidney disease won’t be put in solitary confinement, he said.

    “Let's end solitary confinement altogether,” de Blasio said, adding that the city still has a lot to do to create more safety.

    The Board of Corrections will form a working group charged with finding a path to eliminate punitive segregation in city jails.

    The group will present recommendations this fall for formal changes to the Board of Correction rules.

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