Democratic mayoral candidate Maya Wiley detailed her plan to overhaul the NYPD on Wednesday — a day after she vowed to cut $1 billion from the NYPD.
It’s the first time Wiley has given an exact figure to defund the police — a movement which has garnered support following the killing of George Floyd last year but mayoral candidates have largely avoided explicitly endorsing.
Wiley’s promise to cut the NYPD’s budget was made Tuesday night before an audience of demonstrators who turned out to celebrate after a jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of killing Floyd.
Wiley on Wednesday delivered a speech focused on management before a Zoom audience from the New York Law School, adding she would consider appointing a civilian to lead the nation’s biggest police force.
“I think it is time for a civilian. My police commissioner will be one hundred percent committed to effective policing and will not have come up through the ranks and the rank and file of the New York City Police Department,’’ Wiley said. “We cannot continue to reflexively promote from an organizational culture that is broken.”
The proposal marks a departure from recent mayors who have appointed commissioners from within the NYPD or have called back retired commissioners — like in the case of Bill Bratton, who led the department during Mayor Bill de Blasio’s first term in office.
In her speech, Wiley also said she would be open to appointing a commissioner who has a policing background but may not be from within the NYPD. The role of police commissioner is one of the most important and politically charged appointments any mayor can make when they take office. The search usually attracts candidates from around the nation.
“The next mayor must recruit and empower professionals who are completely committed to the reform and transformation agenda,” Wiley said. “Whether it comes from within the department as it has for the past 30 years or the outside.”
Wiley’s policing plan also calls for an $18 million cut for the NYPD, which she said would be dedicated to providing “trauma informed care” in schools. It’s all part of her proposal to slash at least $1 billion dollars from the department — a figure that some supporters of the movement to defund the police say is not enough. Wiley’s plan also calls for a reduction in the NYPD’s headcount by 2,250 officers.
Wiley, who formerly served as Mayor Bill de Blasio’s top counsel and was most recently an MSNBC legal analyst has been lagging in some early polls, but during Wednesday’s speech she sought to connect both her experience inside and outside government as key qualifiers to take over at City Hall during a time of deep crisis.
“New York needs more than a choice between candidates with no experience in government and candidates who have experience only in government,” Wiley said.