Local lawmakers introduced two resolutions into the City Council on Thursday calling on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to remove Mayor Bill de Blasio from office.
One resolution, introduced by the progressive Sunset Park councilman Carlos Menchaca, argues that the mayor’s unwillingness to slash the NYPD’s budget prevents meaningful police reform.
“New Yorkers have realized that the Mayor represents the single greatest obstacle to peace and justice in New York City, and to passing a fair and just people’s budget,” Menchaca wrote in a Medium post on June 18. “I am calling on this body to express a loss of confidence in the Mayor and for the Governor to remove him from office.”
The other resolution, introduced by Queens councilman Eric Ulrich, a Republican, argues that the mayor has failed “to maintain public order and safety during this period of persistent social unrest.”
Should Cuomo heed the calls, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams would become the interim mayor for the remainder of de Blasio’s term.
The resolutions come as critics have lambasted de Blasio for his tepid response to the George Floyd protests and his hesitancy to condemn incidents of police brutality at the marches — even when reporters raised questions about first-hand accounts.
“I believe that you believe what you’re saying,” De Blasio told Gothamist reporter Jake Offenhartz after Offenhartz asked him about police violence at a June 4 protest in the Bronx. “We had observers from City Hall who saw a very different reality.”
De Blasio’s defense of the police’s tactics infuriated many longtime supporters and staffers, who initially backed him because of his campaign platform advocating for police reform.
“I felt grateful to work for an administration that shared my values,” said former de Blasio staffer Catherine Almonte at a June 8 protest led by de Blasio’s current and former aides. “I believed that you [de Blasio] we’re going to make meaningful change from the inside … that’s what’s made this week so painful.”
Following pressure for the city to cut the NYPD’s budget, de Blasio has vowed to make some cuts — but resists slashing the budget by $1 billion as reformers have proposed.
“I do not believe it is a good idea to reduce the budget of the agency that is here to keep us safe,” he said during a briefing on June 5. “The bigger problem is we may not have a choice. We may be defunding all city agencies if things don’t go right.”
De Blasio has since rolled out a series of police reforms that would establish a database of cases involving police abuses and speed up the disciplinary procedure against cops, among other changes — but Menchaca does not believe they go far enough.
“New Yorkers are demanding nothing short of a complete re-imagining of public safety to ensure a just and equitable recovery,” the councilman wrote. “Only by defunding the NYPD and reinvesting that money back into our communities will we achieve a fair and just people’s budget, and ensure a just and equitable recovery from COVID-19.”