The more than 100 protesters began camping out in front of New York City’s City Hall beginning Tuesday night, and say they will stay there until their demand is met.
The cut would represent one-sixth of the New York Police Department’s $6 billion budget.
The protesters say the money should be redistributed to “community reinvestment” like social services, housing, health care and education. The protests organized by VOCAL-NY come ahead of the city’s June 30 deadline to finalize its budget, including for the police department.
“Mayor [Bill] de Blasio has thus far rejected this demand, which is unconscionable,” VOCAL-NY said in a release. “We have questions about City Council promises to support our demands, because we have not seen their plan outside of a vague press release. We view this lack of transparency and specific public commitments as a red flag.”
The demonstrations have also led to calls to defund the police, which involves shifting money from police departments to other resources,.
“We wanted to make sure that the whole world knew that if you’re calling to defund the NYPD, that you need to be here to make sure those folks in the building behind us know what’s happening,” Jawanza James Williams, the director of organizing for VOCAL-NY, told BuzzFeed News.