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New York City Council President Adams backs concept of reducing the size and scope of the NYPD, a key progressive promise


New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said Tuesday that she agrees with the “premise” that the city’s budget should prioritize community investments, such as housing and mental health services, over of funding the New York Police Department, a contentious concept that recently split the Council’s Progressive Caucus and ultimately led to several members leaving the Council.

Adams, who spoke with WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Tuesday morning, noted that he did not sign the pledge that divided the caucus, but when asked if he agreed with the general premise, he said: “I would agree with that one. Yeah.”

His position opens the door to a possible confrontation with Mayor Adams, who has made crime reduction a cornerstone of his administration and supports keeping the NYPD well-funded.

The pledge states that the caucus will “do everything possible to reduce the size and reach of the NYPD…and prioritize and fund alternative security infrastructure that truly invests in our communities.”

The schism it sparked caused 15 of the group’s original 35 members to jump ship.

Adams serves as an ex-officio member of that caucus and several others on the Council, but said he is not involved in their day-to-day activities.

His comments about the compromise and its premise, as well as other comments he made during the radio announcement with Lehrer, offer a clearer picture of how the Council can proceed in its ongoing budget negotiations with Mayor Adams, who is not related to the speaker.

“I will support all investments in many of the safety solutions we fought for in last year’s budget, such as trauma recovery centers and crime victim services,” he said. “This budget should prioritize investments and services like that.”

In this Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020 file photo, a protester holds a sign that reads "defund the police" during a rally for the late George Floyd outside the Barclays Center in New York.

A day earlier, the president of the council presided over a budget hearing that examined how the NYPD far exceeded budget in overtime spending, as well as its Strategic Response Group, which came under fire for its response to protests in 2020 in protest of the police murder of George Floyd. in Minneapolis.

On Monday, she said the city needs to “check on” the NYPD OT and that the Council will “take a hard look at it” during budget negotiations.

“We asked very specific questions. The responses we got were largely about the things they were doing to remedy the overtime situation, not what actually got them there during the last fiscal year. So we are very concerned and we are going to have to take a serious look at this,” he said. “I dare say no other agency could get away with this.”

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