NEW YORK CITY – Following this morning’s City Council oversight hearing regarding reducing the responsibilities of the NYPD, the New York Civil Liberties Union issued the following statements:
“The New York City Council must provide the leadership our city needs to reduce the size, scope and power of the NYPD. This must include disbanding the outsized and militarized Strategic Response Group,” said Isabelle Leyva, organizer at the NYCLU. “NYCLU’s protest monitors have had a front row seat to SRG abuse: we know that when SRG polices protest, they do not bring an iota of public safety to demonstrations. They regularly kettle, arrest, and brutalize protesters, especially those standing up for racial justice. City lawmakers must disband SRG and its funds should be reinvested to serve, and not harm, New Yorkers. Militarized police forces do not belong in our streets.”
“Dismantling the NYPD’s abhorrently corrupt Vice Squad is a public health and public safety imperative,” said Jared Trujillo, policy counsel at the NYCLU. “Vice is, in theory, tasked with policing so-called quality-of-life offenses such as consensual sex work, narcotics use, and gambling. In reality, Vice officers use their badges to exploit, sexually harass, and otherwise terrorize sex workers, survivors of trafficking, massage workers, and their clients. Instead of bloating the Vice Squad’s coffers, our City Council must invest Vice’s $18.2m budget in organizations that provide services for the Black, Latinx, and Asian communities long brutalized by Vice.”
Read the NYCLU’s testimony here.
After years of demands to reduce NYPD funding, Mayor de Blasio and New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson instead added an additional $200 million to the NYPD expense budget in June. This follows accounting slights of hand including transferring, but not reducing the presence of, policing in schools from the NYPD to the Department of Education, and making empty promises to cut spending on overtime, which the NYPD has repeatedly blown past.
The total NYPD expense budget now exceeds $5 billion, the largest police budget in the country, which includes funding for two of the most dangerous NYPD units, the Vice Squad and the Strategic Response Group.
Learn more about the NYCLU’s campaigns to transform policing here.