Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) threw her support behind a movement that would defund the New York Police Department in the wake of George Floyd’s death, the goal of which is to combat police brutality.
Ocasio-Cortez said in a congressional primary debate Friday night on NY1 that she has “actively engaged in advocacy for” a “reduction of our NYPD budget and defunding a $6 billion NYPD budget that costs us books in the hands of our children and costs us very badly needed investment in NYCHA [New York City Housing Authority] and public housing.”
The self-described Democratic socialist echoed the demands of Black Lives Matter activists that New York City should be spending less money on law enforcement and more money on social services, education, and housing.
Her stance puts her at odds with the head of the Congressional Black Caucus and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who do not support defunding the police.
Ocasio-Cortez, left-wing New York City council members, and left-wing activists are calling on New York to get rid of at least $1 billion out of the NYPD’s $6 billion budget.
Meanwhile, de Blasio defended the NYPD’s budget, saying that the money was necessary to keep New York City safe.
“I do not believe it’s a good idea to reduce the budget of the agency that’s here to keep us safe,” de Blasio said Friday during a press briefing.
Ocasio-Cortez offered her support for the #DefundthePolice movement while talking about what she would do to reform policing. Of the reforms she laid out, she said she would get rid of qualified immunity that protects police officers from legal accountability and stop the transfer of military arms to police departments.
The Defund the Police petition has also gotten celebrity support from Lizzo, John Legend, and Natalie Portman. All are demanding that police budgets be slashed in favor of investing in health care, education, and community programs.