Protesters living in a campaign camp to Occupy City Hall kicked off their sixth consecutive day on Sunday taking up space in New York City to demand that at least $ 1 billion be cut from the NYPD’s $ 6 billion budget before of the next municipal budget deadline of July 1.
Photos shared on social media showed officers dressed in riot gear standing outside City Hall Park in lower Manhattan, where hundreds of people camped Saturday night through Sunday morning.
#DefundNYPD campaign for #NYCBudgetJustice calls for $ 1 billion to be reinvested for services, programs and infrastructure that “directly benefit black, Latino and other communities of color most devastated by COVID-19,” according to the Communities website United for Police Reform.
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Several users republished the same message on Twitter, claiming that it is the Mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, and the “duty” of New York City President Corey Johnson to disburse the police department and that all elected officials opposed to the idea must resign.
“We folks at #OccupyCityHall will not stop until the budget works for ALL OF US. @NYCMayor @NYCSpeakerCoJo it’s your duty to #DefundNYPD in half and reinvest it in our communities. Any opposing elected official must resign immediately. #NYCBudgetJustice #PeoplesBudget, “read the message.
De Blasio has promised to pay the police, but has hesitated to specify how much.
Police authorities have said that now is not the right time to remove the department since the number of shootings in the first three weeks of June has more than doubled compared to the same period last year. The increase in gun violence continued this weekend after at least 18 people were shot in New York City in a 24-hour period, WABC reported.
Protesters have been camping on the grass in tents and under umbrellas since last week. Organizers have been handing out free food and drinks, and people were seen playing music, dancing and singing, as well as creating artwork.
The signage displayed reflects support for the Black Lives Matter, and several called for justice for Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old black man who died last August in Aurora, Colorado, after police placed him in a chokehold. Her case has drawn renewed attention amid a global outcry over the death of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody after an officer was filmed kneeling on his neck on May 25.
“We are very angry and very hurt,” Jawanza, one of the organizers of the “Occupy City Hall” protest, told NY 1 on Friday. “Black people across the country and hundreds of people in this city are outraged by the kind of violence that we continue to see perpetuated by the police and also by the New York police, in particular.”
“But what people need to remember is that when black people express joy, that is an act of resistance. The powers of white supremacy don’t really want us to scream for joy, to appear in front of the empire and in the face of oppression and make musical chairs and jump rope, but this is how we are resistant.
“This is how we keep moving forward,” he continued. “This is how we continue to hope that the NYPD will be compensated by at least $ 1 billion and make sure we fund housing, education, health care and social services for our people. We are trying to build our cheery whiteboard and achieve true real security. And when people express joy, they remind us of what is possible. ”
Occupy City Hall nods to the similar 2010 Occupy Wall Street protest movement against economic inequality that started just a few blocks away in Zuccotti Park, located in the city’s financial district.
It also compares to the most recent CHOP in Seattle, where protesters earlier this month declared a “police-free cooperative” in the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, which included an abandoned police compound.
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan committed to several police reforms and allowed the occupation for more than a week until four shootings occurred, one of which was fatal, in the area where officers were said to be unwelcome.
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Since then, more than a dozen business owners have sued arguing that the city violated the constitutional rights of employees and residents in the Capitol Hill area. The lawsuit argues that the city provided resources and support to the occupants of CHOP despite acknowledging serious security problems at night, as well as the widespread destruction of private property.