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Phoenix City Council passes budget, $3M funding for police oversight board

Protesters rally Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Phoenix, demanding the Phoenix City Council defund the Phoenix Police Department. The protest is a result of the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being restrained by Minneapolis police officers on May 25. (AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — The Phoenix City Council on Monday passed its annual budget, which included $3 million in funding for a police oversight board.

The City Council passed the budget in a 7-2 vote, with Councilmen Sal DiCiccio and Jim Waring voting against it.

Most of the funding for the civilian oversight board of the Phoenix Police Department will come from expected federal COVID-19 relief and costs savings from COVID-19 closures.

The decision came five days after the City Council pushed back the vote until Monday’s special session.

The City Council adopted the civilian review board, a plan from Councilman Carlos Garcia, in February.

“Today is a first step in a process of creating a safer community for Phoenix,” Garcia said in a statement.

“Funding these programs will not solve all the issues our community faces with police, including police brutality or institutionalized racism, but hopefully it will start a conversation on how we as a community envision a different future—a future where public safety isn’t defined as police, but as a community where all residents have their basic needs met.”

Councilmembers voted 5-4 in favor of Garcia’s plan, which also calls for an office of accountability and transparency.

Calls for oversight on police have ratcheted up recently following the in-custody death of George Floyd in Minnesota on May 25.

Protesters have gathered throughout metro Phoenix for the past 11 days to fight against police brutality and racial inequality.

Phoenix protesters have also mentioned the name of Dion Johnson, the 28-year-old man who was killed by an Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper on May 25.

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