Austin City Council Joins the 'Defund the Police' Movement

Posted: Aug 13, 2020 3:35 PM
Austin City Council Joins the 'Defund the Police' Movement

Source: AP Photo/Eric Gay

The Austin City Council voted unanimously on Thursday in favor of a new city budget that sees an estimated $150 million in planned cuts to the Austin Police Department. About $20 million will be immediately removed from the department’s funding, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

The vote took place after the city council listen to hours of public testimony on Wednesday, which saw many speakers in favor of cutting the police budget.

The cuts that will take place immediately will include:

"Cutting three upcoming cadet classes, slashing overtime costs by nearly $3 million, pulling more than $3 million from commodities and contractuals, $1 million from records management and More than $220,000 combined from license plate readers and vacancies to the department’s mounted patrol.

"That money will be redirected instead to a wide variety of community programs and city departments, including Austin-Travis County EMS for COVID-19 response, mental health response, violence prevention and a family violence shelter and protection and victim services."

The Austin Police Association called the budget cuts "ridiculous and unsafe for Austinites":

Austin is just the latest city to make moves to start defunding their police departments. 

The Seattle City Council voted to take away some of the Seattle Police Department's funds, though it is not near the 50 percent cut protesters and rioters have demanded. Since those cuts included a major decrease in Chief Carmen Best's pay and pay for her command staff, along with other officer layoffs, she announced her resignation shortly after the council voted.