Austin City Council votes to cut police department budget by one-third, reinvest money in social services

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The Austin City Council on Thursday voted to cut the police department's budget by tens of millions of dollars. Credit: Eddie Gaspar/The Texas Tribune

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The Austin City Council unanimously voted to cut its police department budget by $150 million on Thursday, after officers and the city’s top cop faced months of criticism over the killing of an unarmed Black and Hispanic man, the use of force against anti-police brutality protesters and the investigation of a demonstrator’s fatal shooting by another citizen.

Those criticisms coincided with protests across Texas and the country calling for reforms on police tactics and the “defunding” of law enforcement in favor of redistributing funds to social services and alternative public safety programs.