On Tuesday night, the New York City Council voted to pass the $88 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2021.
For weeks, advocates marching and protesting across the city have called for defunding the NYPD by at least $1 billion. The demonstrations have resulted in an occupation of City Hall Park, where activists called on the City Council to decrease the police budget significantly.
However, as City Council Speaker Corey Johnson later admitted, negotiations for the $1 billion in cuts fell short.
When the vote for the budget came, 37 members voted in favor, while 12 voted against. North Brooklyn Councilman Antonio Reynoso was one of the no votes.
“I hear my constituents and fellow New Yorkers loud and clear: our systems of policing in New York City are rotten to the core,” he said. “This is not a new truth – our criminal justice system has been plagued by racist and oppressive practices since the founding of our nation, and I have spent my entire career in office fighting against it.
“Divestment in policing, a restructuring of our justice system, and meaningful investment in our communities is what New Yorkers have been demanding,” he added, “and it is our duty as elected representatives to deliver on those demands.”
Reynoso noted that while the nearly $1 billion in NYPD cuts was “the most we could have achieved” with this City Council, the mayor’s proposed budget had nearly zero cuts, he said.
“It is my belief that the budget we are voting on today will not bring about the level of systemic change being demanded by myself, my constituents and groups like Communities United for Police Reform, the Brooklyn Movement Center, VOCAL and Make the Road NY,” he added.
“I have prided myself on always working collaboratively to achieve results, but on this issue there is too much at stake. I cannot compromise or settle for half measures.”