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NEW YORK (AP) — New York City lawmakers are holding a high-stakes debate on the city budget as activists demand a $1 billion shift from policing to social services and the city grapples with multibillion-dollar losses because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The City Council was meeting Tuesday, with a midnight deadline to pass a budget ahead of the fiscal year that begins Wednesday.

It comes with protesters camped outside City Hall insisting that the city slash $1 billion from the New York Police Department’s budget amid a nationwide campaign to “defund” police — a movement animated by outrage over the deaths of George Floyd and other Black Americans at the hands of police.

Protesters want money moved from policing to community and social programs, saying the shift would advance racial justice and curb a police force that the activists say has been given too much power.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday he had a plan for a $1 billion cut from one of the world’s largest police departments. He wouldn’t detail the proposal but said spending on capital projects would be reduced by $500 million, money would go to the city’s chronically underfunded public housing system and to youth programs, and there could be changes to the NYPD’s role in policing schools.

“I certainly understand why people feel so strongly the need for change,” de Blasio, a Democrat, said on cable news station NY1 Monday evening. “I was skeptical at times about how we could make the pieces fit, but we actually found a way to do it that makes sense.”

Activists are suspicious that the cuts will merely shift money around without making what they see as meaningful changes.

“No funny math. No budget musical chairs,” relatives of more than a dozen people killed by NYPD officers said in a letter Tuesday to the mayor and council. “We’ll know if you fought for our communities or whether you will let the NYPD continue to be treated as if they’re above the law, even in the budget.”

The NYPD budget is now around $6 billion, plus several billion dollars more in shared city expenses such as pensions.

The discussion comes as the city is grappling with what de Blasio has pegged at a $9 billion revenue loss because of the coronavirus.

The city budget totaled nearly $93 billion when passed last June.

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Shocking video shows heinous and unprovoked stabbing attack on New York City subway

Violent crime is surging in New York City, where shootings have skyrocketed over 200% in recent weeks. The rise in violence follows last month's decision by the NYPD to eliminate its controversial plainclothes units, impacting about 600 officers. Last week, there was yet another barbaric act of violence when a man went on a stabbing spree in an NYC subway.

Graphic and bloody cellphone footage shows a gruesome knife attack. The emboldened stabber knifes at least two men in a subway car in Queens. The frightening onslaught is captured on video that went viral on Sunday.

The two men are knocked to the floor as they helplessly attempt to protect themselves from the knife attack. The men suffered grisly knife wounds while they were on No. 7 train traveling to the 52nd St.-Lincoln Ave. Station in Sunnyside, according to the New York Daily News.

Chief Edward Delatorre, the NYPD Chief of Transit, called the knife attack "heinous and unprovoked."

"The suspect was arrested moments later, charged with multiple counts of felony assault, menacing, and criminal possession of a weapon, and is currently awaiting prosecution," Delatorre wrote on Twitter.

The attacker is reportedly Bronx-native Patrick Chambers, 46, who was arrested shortly after the attack on July 5.

Late last month, there was another stabbing attack in New York City caught on video. Surveillance video captured the moment a man walked into a deli in Brooklyn and repeatedly stabbed a patron, who he accused of staring at him.

(Content Warning: Extremely graphic images):

A heinous and unprovoked attack- The suspect was arrested moments later, charged with multiple counts of felony ass… https://t.co/o0c06iiQBt — NYPD Transit (@NYPD Transit)1594495535.0

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