City Hall occupied to demand $1 billion in NYPD budget cuts

Protestors have taken over the patch of grass and slate between Centre Street and the gates of the Tweed Courthouse, camping out to demand that the city cut the NYPD budget by at least $1 billion. The plan is to stay till June 30, when the budget is due.

So far the mayor has said he will not meet the mark of $1 billion, and the City Council has made a vague promise of it. Comptroller Scott Stringer has come up with a plan that would get the NYPD there by cutting staff through attrition and cutting overtime. The way I see it is this will come down to jobs: the budget of the NYPD is 88 percent personnel. And 1800 of those NYPD jobs were just added in by the City Council in fiscal year 2016. So there will have to be some major negotiations. (See this Citizens Budget Commission report for a really good FAQ, and more analysis here from Gotham Gazette.)

The protestors are also suggesting that the whole system be reworked, and that this is just the first step. “Our larger goal is abolition and the creation of a new public safety system,” Jonathan Lykes — an organizer from DC — told me. “But for now we are aiming for a $1 billion cut.”

As for the encampment itself, it is highly organized with free food and water, a garbage pickup system, an information desk and even a press table. Plus they saved the most classy “defund” party decorations for the historic subway entrance.

Not that I am in any way qualified to write public safety policy, but my first thought is start by rerouting 311 calls and maybe 911 as well to staffing and city services that already exist. For instance, when neighbors complained about a homeless person camped for weeks on a bench by BMCC, I called the press office of the Department of Homeless Services and they sent a social worker out. Seems like that could work on a broader and larger scale.



  1. Speaking of homeless, there is an encampment under the scaffolding on Franklin near Varick St. I walked by there a few times past month or so and they are always there.

  2. The homeless, the drug addicts, the looters are taking over TriBeCa while our loser mayor fiddles. He watched in fear and throws the police and firemen under the bus while our city burns! Sham on you Da Blasio.

  3. Its a very very sad time in New York. To see our neighborhoods go down like this. Our Mayor needs to go!! We are going back to a time of unrest back to the 70s and 80s! It’s scary! Shame on you Mayor Dummy!!!

  4. Occupy City Hall is an amazing example of the NY spirit. We are finally having a much-needed discussion in the country and the city about some important issues that need to be addressed. We have walked through downtown on many occasions these past few weeks and so far it seems pretty normal–no broken glass or vandalism. I think many pearl clutchers are eager to announce the “downfall” of the city, but so far the reality is not that. I am not saying things are going to be challenging but its not evident right now. Also, so many cool things are going on and much needed corrections in different aspects of the city are underway.