Gov. Kathy Hochul's administration is against efforts to slash budgets for police departments, she said on Thursday during an unrelated news conference.
"We do not support defund the police. No one in my administration does," she said. "That was a catchphrase that had very negative connotations."
The question over defunding the police and Hochul's stance on the issue arose after her appointment of Brian Benjamin to the lieutenant governor's office. Benjamin, a former Manhattan state senator, previously tweeted in support of defunding police departments following the social justice protests in the wake of the murder of George Floyd.
Hochul on Thursday said police departments and law enforcement are needed to protect communities and provide public safety.
"I believe that we have to continue to fund the police in this state to make sure they can protect, especially Black and Brown communities," she said.
But Hochul also acknowledged the need to ensure police officers face "severe consequences" when a line is crossed in brutality cases.
"But no one in our administration supports [defunding] the police," she said.