The DC Council unanimously passed the Fiscal Year 2021 budget, where millions of dollars were cut from the Metropolitan Police Department’s (MPD) expected budget increase.
The budget cut from the police force was due to the significant reduction in the District’s revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The $8.5 billion budget that was approved by all 13 members of the DC Council shifted millions of dollars to social programs.
As part of the vote, the increase the MPD was supposed to receive was slashed by $9.6 million. The total amount of addition originally planned for the department was $18 million, which was allocated by Mayor Muriel Bowser.
Council member Charles Allen‘s committee had previously recommended a drop of $15 million from DC police’s expected budget increase.
DC Police Chief Peter Newsham criticized Allen’s recommendation in an interview with WTOP last month, calling the idea a “politically correct, knee-jerk reaction to what’s going on in other parts of the country,” in reference to the racial justice protests following the police killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American in Minneapolis.
“Police are feeling a little bit underappreciated, not only here but across the country. So, it doesn’t surprise me to see that human beings who have committed their lives to public safety react with that type of response,” said Newsham.
Mayor Bowser and Newsham had been pushing for the budget proposed by Bowser in May.
DC has seen more homicides in 2020 compared to the same period of last year. More than 100 people have been killed since the start of this year. The figure was 91 in 2019.
The year of 2019, during which 166 homicides took place, went down in DC’s history with the most homicides over the past decade. However, 2020 seems to be on track to break that record.
DC officials estimate a revenue loss of $722 million in financial year 2020 and $774 million in financial year 2021.