After being heckled and called "racist" and a "son of a bitch" by protesters in the City Council chambers this morning, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton signaled that perhaps he can make do without 1,000 new police officers after all.
Immediately after the Commissioner began his testimony concerning the NYPD's budget to the Public Safety Committee and the Finance Committee, protesters began interrupting him, as they've done in the past. Eventually the council chambers were cleared of the public.
Bill Bratton just called a "racist" and a "son of a bitch" at City Council budhet testimony
— Ross Barkan (@RossBarkan) May 21, 2015
.@CommissBratton, on city's mostly minority gunshot victims. "These black and Hispanic lives matter--they matter to me."
— Matthew Chayes (@chayesmatthew) May 21, 2015
An NYPD spokesman, Sergeant Lee Jones, did not have any information on whether arrests were made.
For months, Bratton has assumed he would get the 1,000 new officers, at a cost of $100 million, not counting pensions and other benefits, despite the fact that Mayor de Blasio did not include the expenses in his proposed budget. His assumption rests in part on City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who has staunchly supported the staffing increase, even as she has pushed the NYPD to significantly dial back certain enforcement activities.
In September, Bratton told the City Council he needed the officers in the retraining effort following the death of Eric Garner at the hands of the police. Earlier this month, Bratton pointed to "the terrorism picture in this city" as rationale for hiring more counterterrorism officers, and his spokesman told reporters, "The Police Commissioner is confident that there will be an increase in the size of the force."
That confidence appears to have faded somewhat.
where would you put 1000 more officers? Bratton: "I won’t speak to that…” #NYPD
— Azi (@Azi) May 21, 2015
Pedaling to middle? If no $ for new cops, Bill Bratton, NYPD's top cop, tells lawmakers he could staff a CT unit with "existing resources."
— Al Baker (@bakeal) May 21, 2015
"we’ll do our part with the limited resources we have” — Bratton. #NYPD
— Azi (@Azi) May 21, 2015
"I think he's starting to fall back in line with the mayor," says Josmar Trujillo, an organizer for New Yorkers Against Bratton and one of several protesters who were ejected from the hearing this morning. "Bratton is trying to save face. He's preparing himself for bad news, which is good news for communities of color."
Trujillo's group is a member of a coalition called Safety Beyond Policing, which wants money for new police officers to instead be spent on combating poverty and "non-cop solutions to community problems."
"Bratton is very Bloombergian, this whole sheen of him being different is starting to wear off," Trujillo says, referring to a comment the Commissioner made yesterday: "I'll control my cops, you control your kids."
"He's just pointing back at communities of color, saying, you guys are killing each other, so what we do is justified. It's nothing new."
Bratton's testimony followed a report released by the Independent Budget Office on overtime expenditures by the NYPD. The IBO estimates that an additional $50 million will need to be allocated to cover police overtime from 2015 through 2019; the mayor's budget estimates that NYPD overtime will cost $424 million in FY 2016, almost half of the $1 billion he allocated for overtime in all City agencies.
The IBO report also notes that more police officers does not necessarily translate to less overtime.
"From 1996 through 2001, overtime spending rose at an average rate of 25 percent a year, at the same time police staffing was increasing from 36,278 to 38,630, an average annual increase of about 1 percent," the report states.
"While the negative relationship between the size of the police force and overtime spending in the post-2001 period might suggest that the cost of hiring additional officers could be partially offset by overtime savings, the 1996 through 2001 period demonstrates that force size and overtime can simultaneously increase depending on how officers are deployed," the report concludes.