New York — Green Party leaders today echoed the calls by Black Lives Matter and civil rights activist groups across the nation protesting the murder of George Floyd and other black Americans, and called for the immediate defunding of police departments across the state. The Greens support redirecting the funds towards community needs and social services. The Greens support the effort to reduce the upcoming NYC budget for police by at least $1 billion annually. “Like many Americans, we are tired of the endless killing of Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color by the police. Decades of peaceful protests and promises of reform have done little to stem the ongoing racism and violence by our police departments. We need to go far beyond calls for increased community oversight of the police to an entire reimagining of how we provide security in our neighborhoods,” said Gloria Mattera, state party co-chair. The Green Party said the actions of police officers around the state and country in continuously attacking peaceful protesters - what amounted to a nationwide police riot - was the final curtain falling for an institution built on structural racism, classism, and violence. The Greens stated that the money for salary and benefits for the police was an outsized part of budgets, leading to underfunding of critical community services, housing and anti-poverty initiatives. The Greens said continuing community mass protests is needed to force Gov. Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, and government officials to defund the police. “The shocking images of cops violently, and repeatedly attacking peaceful protesters around our state from Buffalo to Albany to New York City are only stunning to those that ignore the violence that has been inflicted by the police on a daily basis in poor and minority communities for decades. It is time to acknowledge the police are a violent institution connected to the failed war on drugs, racism, and classism. Decades of attempts have taught us they cannot be reformed. The only way to stop their violence is to defund them and reinvest their budgets into non-violent community programs instead,” said Eric Jones, chair of the Erie County Green Party. “While cities cut budgets of schools and social programs, the police receive staggering portions of municipal budgets around the state. In Albany, it is 30%, in Buffalo, 30%, in NYC it is $6 billion, in Troy it is 54% - and the real numbers are often higher after overtime and benefits are added. Why are we funding a lawless organization attacking civilians with impunity and facing no consequences for doing so? We should fund community social services and groups trained to de-escalate situations and focus on long-term healing. The police that remain should be under the direct, democratic control of the communities they are intended to serve, with the officers hired from such communities,” said Peter LaVenia, state party co-chair. “The ongoing protests are centered on the racism of our criminal justice system but the solution requires us to address the systemic racism of our political and economic system We must also address that it is people of color and low-income communities that have been most harmed by COVID-19 and the climate crisis, starting with air pollution. We need to commit to equality in America, with living wage jobs for all, affordable quality public housing, access to education and desegregation of our schools and communities. We need a Green New Deal,” concluded Mattera.