BOSTON (WHDH) - As protesters across the country continue to call for the defunding of police departments following the death of George Floyd, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said he’s “committed to making real change” and a city councilor is calling for a review of how the department spends its money.

Amid ongoing protests against systemic racism, injustice, and police brutality, calls to defund the police have grown increasingly loud — especially among activists who are taking to the streets to urge political action.

Wu filed an order asking for data on police resources and said she’ll address the department’s spending at Wednesday’s City Council meeting, suggesting money could be spent elsewhere.

“We need to evaluate, are we bringing about safety, stability, health to our communities in the best way by putting funding where we are right now, or should we have a conversation about how we’re we falling short in funding public health and housing and some of these other social determinants of health?” Wu said.

Wu also advocated for demilitarizing the police.

“One of the fundamental principles of democracy is that we keep peace through self-governance and not through the threat of military force, and we’ve seen some of the lines blurred,” Wu said.

In a statement, Walsh said he is committed to making Boston “a national leader in building a more just future,” and that budget discussions in the city are still active.

“I’ve spent the last week talking with my cabinet and employees at City Hall about how we make sure we are not just reacting to the events in Minneapolis, but how do we make sure that we are responding in a way that’s meaningful and brings about systemic change,” Walsh said in a statement. “I’m continuing to have conversations with councilors and my staff about what our budget will look like this year because now is a time to roll up our sleeves and get real work done, not separately as the mayor and city council, but together as one government. I am committed to making real change and making Boston a national leader in building a more just future.”

Boston currently spends $414 million dollars on the police and the department is the second-highest funded in the city behind schools. But officials said funding for the police — 11 percent of its overall budget — is proportionally less than in other major cities.

Below is a chart showing how Boston’s spending ranks in comparison to other major cities:

CITYTOTAL POLICE SPENDING% OF CITY BUDGET
Atlanta$218,300,00029.7%
Baltimore$480,700,00025.6%
Boston$414,000,00011%
Chicago$1,460,000,00038.6%
Detroit$310,200,00030.0%
Houston$850,400,00035.0%
Los Angeles$1,485,600,00025.7%
Minneapolis$163,200,00035.8%
New York City$4,894,900,0008.2%
Oakland$242,500,00041.2%
Orlando$153,800,00032.3%

 

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