After listening to more than nine hours of public comment Wednesday night and into early Thursday morning, the San Francisco Police Commission unanimously voted to reject the Police Department's 2020/2021 budget.
The move comes under increasing pressure from activists and residents, both locally and nationwide, calling for governments to hold police officers accountable and to reexamine ways law enforcement agencies are funded.
The police budget presented to commissioners aimed to cut more than $23 million from the department's annual budget, which is over $600 million. The cuts would have called for the elimination of positions, both sworn and civilian, that are already vacant.
San Francisco Public Defender Mano Raju on Thursday said he was glad to see commissioners reject it.
"The public call for transformative change is urgent. The rejection of what amounts to an invisible budget cut is the very least we must do to answer this call. The real work must now begin, in the form of fresh leadership on the police commission, and concrete ideas and implementation of plans to reinvent and reduce policing in San Francisco, led by the values we all hold, and the communities most impacted," he said.
"A much smaller, much altered police department and policing model is what San Franciscans are calling for and the current moment demands nothing less," he said.
The vote comes as San Francisco Mayor London Breed has announced sweeping changes in regard to police reform, including demilitarizing police officers and diverting police funds to the city's African American community.