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San Francisco Proposes To Shift $120 Million From Police To Tackle Racial Disparities

San Francisco Mayor London Breed plans to divert $120 million from law enforcement to efforts that address inequities faced by the city's Black community in housing, health, economic opportunity and education.

The proposal comes two months after, as Breed put it during Friday's announcement, "the murder of George Floyd shook this country to its core, in a way that I have never seen before," stoking ongoing protest against police brutality and racial injustice.

Breed said that a key part of the decision-making process was listening to Black voices.

"It's important that we allow Black people to lead this movement," she said. Not elected officials, she said, but people in the community.

"We have to listen to the people who have seen and lived the devastation resulting from decades of disinvestment," she said.

To that end, Breed and San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton commissioned a report by the city's Human Rights Commission to identify community priorities.

Based on the report — issued earlier this week — the mayor has proposed that 60% of the funding be directed for mental health, wellness and homelessness, and 35% be directed to education, youth development and economic opportunity.

The reallocation of funds will take place over two years, from proposed budgets of $13.7 billion for fiscal year 2020-21 and $12.6 billion the following fiscal year.

Unlike other cities where police budget cuts are on the table, San Francisco police Chief Bill Scott has signaled his willingness to work with the smaller budget.

"There's going to be pain and sacrifice in terms of making these cuts, but we'll absorb it," he toldthe San Francisco Chronicle.

Earlier this summer, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti proposed a cut of as much as $150 million from the city's police department budget, which has met with pushback from the local police union.

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Maureen Pao is an editor, producer and reporter on NPR's Digital News team. In her current role, she is lead digital editor and producer for All Things Considered. Her primary responsibility is coordinating, producing and editing high-impact online components for complex, multipart show projects and host field reporting.