Breed seeks $120M in law enforcement cuts to fund SF’s Black community

‘We are putting our words into action,’ mayor says

Mayor London Breed is expected to announce the diversion of $120 million in law enforcement funding to San Francisco’s Black community when she reveals her proposed budget for the next two fiscal years late Friday morning.

The proposal will include cutting about $40 million a year from the Police Department budget and about $20 million a year from the Sheriff’s Department. It will also call for divesting smaller amounts from the District Attorney’s Office as well as the Juvenile Probation Department.

Breed is scheduled to address her plans for the city budget publicly at 11:30 a.m.

“Reforming our criminal justice system must go hand-in-hand with policy changes and budget investments to make our city more equitable,” Breed said in a statement to the San Francisco Examiner in advance of the announcement. “We are putting our words into action, and we are doing it by listening to a community that for too long has been unheard and underserved.”

Breed and Supervisor Shamann Walton first announced their intent to cut an unspecified amount of funding from the Police Department budget in June following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which inspired calls across the nation to “defund the police.”

Breed’s budget would reduce The City’s general fund support for the Police Department from a scheduled $553.4 million to a proposed $515 million in the 2020-21 fiscal year.

One of the biggest cuts would be the elimination of about 120 vacant officer positions to save about $20 million. Other cuts include the elimination of unfilled civilian positions and a reduction in overtime.

The size of the police force is expected to remain the same.

In terms of where the diverted funds would be redirected, 60 percent of the total funds would go toward mental health, wellness and homelessness and 35 percent would be used for education, youth development and economic opportunity.

The funds would be diverted in line with recommendations from the Human Rights Commission with input from the Black community.

While the funding has been marked for specific needs, it has yet to be decided exactly how it will dispersed to address them.

The Department of Public Health, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the Human Rights Commission are all expected to receive a portion.

The remaining 5 percent of the funding would go toward Breed’s plans to redirect non-emergency calls from police to civilian professionals.

“This work is ongoing and it will take time, but it won’t be done until we have fully remedied past wrongs and ended the disparities that continue to harm African Americans in our city to this day,” Breed said.

Once Breed introduces the budget, the Board of Supervisors will begin its review and could make changes.

“I am 100 percent supportive of the process and excited about over $100 million being reinvested in the Black community,” Walton said in a statement. “Obviously, I will continue to fight for more, but this is a tangible step towards reparations.”

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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