A groundswell of protesters and legislators nationally have been calling on their mayors to defund their police departments. New York City is no exception.

In fact, on Wednesday, June 3, current and former members of de Blasio’s own staff wrote an open letter to the mayor calling for police accountability and demanding reform, including stripping the NYPD of at least $1 billion in funding.

“I think he’s been a lot of talk and a no-show, and that’s what we’re demanding: We need him to actually take action,” said one administration employee involved in the effort. “As city employees, we have to hold our boss accountable.”

On Sunday, during his daily briefing, Mayor de Blasio outlined a series of reforms he plans to implement in redistributing funds from NYPD’s budget to other social services programs that help they city’s most vulnerable populations.

Most recently, the NYPD suspended two of its officers without pay for its inappropriate behavior during the protests. These interactions were caught on video. One officer pushed a woman to the ground and another removed the mask of a protestor and pepper-sprayed him.

“We’re committed to seeing a shift of funding to youth services, to social services, that will happen literally in the course of the next three weeks, but I’m not going to go into detail because it is subject to negotiation and we want to figure out what makes sense,” de Blasio said.

However, his decision did not come without pressure– from the protesters, the public and politicians.

Distrust continues to mount against the mayor and the NYPD, but he has promised to be committed to changing the way the city is policed.

Last week, the mayor announced that an independent review of the NYPD’s actions during the protests will be conducted by Corporation Counsel Jim Johnson and DOI Commissioner Margaret Garnett.

“While we have taken many steps to reform policing in this city, there is clearly more work to do to strengthen trust between officers and the New Yorkers they serve,” said de Blasio. “These will be the first of many steps my administration will take over the next 18 months to rebuild a fairer city that profoundly addresses injustice and disparity.”


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Yannise Jean

Yannise Jean is a Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Her work has appeared in publications like Okayplayer and Well + Good. Follow her on Twitter @yjeanwrites.

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