New Yorkers want money shifted from police to social programs

New York, Mar 18 (EFE).- Activists gathered outside New York city hall on Friday to demand that Mayor Eric Adams and city council members redirect funds from the police department to social programs.

The protest, organized by Grassroots Advocates for Neighborhood Groups & Solutions (GANGS) to coincide with a virtual preliminary budget hearing of the City Council’s Committee on Public Safety that included presentations from the New York Police Department (NYPD), which annually receives more money than many of the world’s armies.

In July 2020, the City Council agreed to cut the NYPD budget by $1 billion under the influence of the Black Lives Matter movement and calls to “Defund the Police” spurred by the police murder of George Floyd.

Speakers at Friday’s demonstration urged the council to channel the $1 billion to improved social services in poor African American and Hispanic communities.

They also expressed opposition to the mayor’s plan to revive a controversial NYPD unit that was involved in the 1999 killing of Guinean immigrant Amadou Diallo – shot 19 times – and the 2006 death of Sean Bell, who was struck by 50 bullets.

Adams, a Black former NYPD captain, is exploiting fear of crime to boost the police budget and bring back discriminatory practices, protesters said.

Some in the crowd raised concerns about moves to expand electronic surveillance and the large number of minority youths who are listed in NYPD data-bases as suspected gang members based on nothing more than their skin color or ethnicity.

Adams wants to devote $10.7 billion to the NYPD while reducing funds for social programs, Victor Dempsey of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Legal Defense Fund told Efe. EFE rh/dr

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