San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Friday announced a plan to redirect $120 million in funding from city law enforcement agencies to the Black community.
In a move first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, Breed said the diverted money from the San Francisco Police Department and the San Francisco County Sheriff's Office will be invested in the underserved Black community to help close gaps in wealth, public health, education and other areas.
"When we say our budget is a reflection of our values, this is what we're talking about," Breed said in a tweet. "Reforming our criminal justice system must go hand-in-hand with policy changes and budget investments to make our city more equitable."
In that aspect of her budget plan, which she called a "first step," Breed proposed that 60% of the redirected funding be allocated for mental health, wellness, and homelessness, and 35% be directed to education, youth development and economic opportunity in those Black communities.
Breed made the formal budget announcement for fiscal years 2020-21 and 2021-22 during a Friday briefing.
San Francisco police Chief Bill Scott released the following statement in response to Friday's budget announcement:
"We knew that there would be pain and sacrifice associated with these budget cuts, but we also know they’re necessary to fulfill the promise of Mayor Breed’s and Sup. Walton’s reinvestment initiative to support racial equality. It’s also worth noting that some funding cuts will go to divert non-emergency, low-priority calls for service away from the police department to other public functions better equipped to respond to behavioral health crises, in sheltered individuals, and low-priority calls.
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"While the cuts are significant, they are cuts we can absorb and that will not diminish our ability to provide essential services. It’s important that we not view this funding redirection as a zero-sum game. At the end of the day, all San Franciscans - including the SFPD - benefit from a city that is more just and equitable; whose diverse communities are healthy and well supported and where the best, most appropriate public services are enlisted to respond to behavioral health problems and other non-emergency issues that face our city."
Sheriff Paul Miyamoto released the following statement:
"The San Francisco Sheriff’s Office is collaborating with the Mayor’s Office to reduce our budget and redirect funds to support and address historic inequities in San Francisco’s Black community. We need responsible redirection that still allows us to continue our work to interrupt the cycle of incarceration caused by the underfunding of education, youth development and economic opportunities. We are hopeful that this increased awareness and commitment will make a genuine difference and remove barriers to progress, especially for justice-involved people who seek successful reentry."
The proposed budget also includes $15 million in one-time funding for the San Francisco Unified School District to support the city's public school students "most disparately impacted by COVID-19" and the resulting school closures, the mayor's office said.
News of the redirected law enforcement funding comes days after the city of Oakland approved a plan to form a task force that would ultimately target a 50% cut in police department funding over the next two years.