Austin City Council Votes to Cut Police Department Budget by One-Third, Reinvest Money in Social Services

austin

The Austin City Council unanimously voted to cut its police department budget by $150 million on Thursday, after officers and the city’s top cop faced months of criticism over the killing of an unarmed Black and Hispanic man, the use of force against anti-police brutality protesters and the investigation of a demonstrator’s fatal shooting by another citizen.

Those criticisms coincided with protests across Texas and the country calling for reforms on police tactics and the “defunding” of law enforcement in favor of redistributing funds to social services and alternative public safety programs. The council’s move makes Austin the first of Texas’ four biggest cities to drastically cut police department funding. The share of the police department budget that was cut is among the largest percentage decreases in the nation this year.

Council member Greg Casar, who crafted the three-tiered plan to reduce the police department budget, said when the Austin community organizes and asks for change, he wants to make sure the council can respond effectively.

Texas Tribune

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