New York police budget will be cut

Police unsplash.jpg
Group of New York police officers. Photo by Gabe Pierce on Unsplash

Mayor Bill de Blasio said he plans to move some funding from police to youth services because of protests

Level: Intermediate

Originally published on 9 June 2020

 

There are a lot of protests at the moment in the US, because of the killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. There haven’t been protests in the US like these for a long time. Because of this, there has been a lot of debate about what kinds of reforms law enforcement agencies must make.

 

Some police departments, cities and states have said they want to try and stop the violent tactics that the police use.

 

Different groups want different types of changes to happen. Some people want to reform the police. For example, in California a lot of police departments have said they will not allow police to use carotid neck restraints. In Portland, Oregon, police officers will no longer work at high schools. In Dallas, Texas, police said they now have a rule that police officers have to warn people before shooting. In Washington DC, they want police to release body-camera footage quicker and ban police chokeholds.

In New York City, people are campaigning to defund the police. On Sunday, the New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, said that some funding would be moved from the New York police department (NYPD) to “youth initiatives and social services”. 

 

“I want people to understand that our young people are very important to us,” De Blasio said.

There have been ideas for changes in Minneapolis as well, which is where George Floyd was killed by police. On Sunday, nine members of the city council promised to break up the city’s police department. “Our promise is to abolish policing and to create systems that keep us safe,” said Lisa Bender, the Minneapolis city council president.

 

At the protests, you can hear a lot of people saying that we should “defund the police”. On Sunday, the Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza said that the idea is to cut the budget of police departments and put money into community projects. These community projects fight homelessness, drug addiction and domestic violence.

 

In Washington, however, it seems there is not a lot of support for defunding or reforming the police. The president Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday, “Sleepy Joe Biden and the Radical Left Democrats want to ‘DEFUND THE POLICE’. I want great and well paid LAW ENFORCEMENT. I want LAW & ORDER!”. 

Adapted from The Guardian

 

New vocabulary:

  • funding​​ – money given by a government or organisation

  • debate ​​– a serious discussion about something

  • reforms – improvements/changes

  • police department/s​​ – sections of the police

  • reform – improve/make changes

  • campaigning​​ – organising to achieve a specific goal

  • defund​​ – give less money

  • youth initiative/s​​ – activities that help with youth development

  • social services​​ – government services for the benefit of the community, such as education, medical care, and youth development

  • co-founder​​ – someone who starts an organisation/initiative/project together with someone else

  • budget​​ – the amount of money calculated to be spent on something

  • homelessness​​ – not having a home

  • domestic violence​​ – violence or other abuse in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or when living together

  • law enforcement​​ – police

What is the difference between 'reforming', 'defunding' or 'abolishing' the police ?

  • Reforming the police = Making changes to the structures in police organisations.

  • Defunding the police = Giving the police less money.

  • Abolishing the police = Getting rid of the police completely. Not using the police at all.

Questions:

What is your opinion about Mayor Bill de Blasio's plans?

What does racism look like in your country?

Do you think we should reform, defund or abolish the police?