De Blasio changes course, will provide funding for new NYPD precinct

This is something that for decades the community asked for,” the Mayor said.

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has walked back on his decision to cut the billion-dollar budget provided to the New York Police Department.

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According to Politicoon Tuesday, de Blasio announced the city plans to spend $105 million to build a new NYPD precinct in Southeast Queens. The outlet reported residents spoke out against the decision to build a community center over a precinct, claiming their nearest precinct was too far to respond to emergencies in a speedy manner. The city will now fund both the new precinct and promised community center.

“This is something that for decades the community asked for,” he said at a press briefing according to Politico.

“The 116th precinct building was something that could not happen in that environment, because of those trade-offs,” he said. “It was one or the other, which was the choice in 2020. We leaned into the investments in young people. Now, thankfully, we have the resources to address both these issues.”

Coney Island's Luna Park Reopens After 18-Month Mandated Closure During Coronavirus Pandemic
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 09: NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a Coney Island parks reopening event in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn borough on April 09, 2021 in New York City. Coney Island’s Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park and Luna Park opened today for the first time in 18 months after being closed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Various government officials attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the reopening. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

In June 2020, theGrio reported the NYC Mayor announced he would cut at least $500 million of the NYPD’s reported $6 billion budget to allocate towards underfunded public housing and youth programs. 

“I’m excited to say we have a plan that can achieve real reform, that can achieve real redistribution — while at the same time ensure that we keep our city safe, while we make sure that our officers are on patrol around where we need them around this city,” de Blasio said during his daily City Hall press briefing at the time.

“We can do this, we can strike the balance, we can keep this city safe,” he later added.

Mayor de Blasio’s budget talks arrived as protesters across the nation continue to call for police reform following the death of George Floyd and other Black Americans killed by law enforcement. 

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Now, a decision has been reached that does not include the budget cut.

“The 116th precinct building was something that could not happen in that environment because of those trade-offs,” he said. “It was one or the other, which was the choice in 2020. We leaned into the investments in young people. Now, thankfully, we have the resources to address both these issues,” de Blasio said according to Politico.

City Council Member Selvena Brooks-Powers expressed to the outlet there was mixed frustration regarding the proposed cut due to the mandated area the current precinct handles.

‘There has been a lot of frustration with the loss of funding in last year’s budget,” she said. “Its size poses consistent challenges to fully serving neighborhoods in the southern half of its jurisdiction, resulting in long-standing disparities in response times and safety for the families of the district.”

Defund Police Protestors Camp Outside NYC City Hall
NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 25: A person holds up a sign critical of NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio in a protest encampment on June 25, 2020 in a park near City Hall in New York City. Demonstrators advocating for the New York City Police Department to be defunded by $1 billion have been camped out for two nights. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)

According to CBS New York, de Blasio also revealed his “Safe Summer NYC” in efforts to prevent gun violence in the city. The plan includes putting more officers in high-crime areas and convincing gang members to trade in violent behavior for jobs and sports, and gun buy-back programs.

The outlet reported the NYPD is shifting 200 police officers from administrative jobs to street patrols, a decrease from the 300 cops who got anti-gun assignments last summer.

“We’re going to make sure that the officers are where we need them to be and we’ll make adjustments. We’re going to be adjusting not just to the precinct level but down to the block level,” de Blasio said, according to the outlet.

Multiple precincts have reported an increase in gun violence.

“The 75 Precinct in East New York, we have a big spike in shootings, 67%. Brownsville, Brooklyn up 67% in shooting incidents as well,” said  Chief of Department Rodney Harrison. He continued, “In order for us to stop the violence, we have to get these young men and women in the right direction, get them out of the gangs, teach them a trade.”

This article contains additional reporting by theGrio’s Ny Magee.

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