Mayor Walsh Postpones Press Conference Out of Respect for George Floyd

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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh postponed his scheduled press conference Tuesday afternoon out of respect for the ongoing funeral services for George Floyd.

Walsh was originally scheduled to speak at 1 p.m. but pushed his press conference back to 3 and then 4:30 p.m. before finally cancelling it around 4.

Earlier on Tuesday, Walsh announced that the city is partnering with a neighborhood health center to offer free and confidential COVID-19 testing.

The community testing initiative with the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center will take part Wednesday and Thursday in the parking lot of Washington Park Mall from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the city's Roxbury neighborhood.

"In addition to handing out face coverings and hand sanitizer at recent demonstrations, we are proud to now make available a pop-up site for anyone -- with symptoms or not -- and encourage those who have recently been in large groups to get tested and limit the further spread of COVID-19 in our community," Walsh said in a statement.

The city is continuing to navigate Phase 2 of Gov. Charlie Baker's reopening plan at a time when protests across the nation -- including in the Boston area -- are calling for racial justice following the death of George Floyd.

During a protest Sunday, activists marching through Boston called for the city to defund police, a rallying cry urging leaders to redirect funds from police to social programs to support black communities.

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Walsh is considering redistributing funds from police to community-led initiatives, according to his office. The issue is expected to be a focal point at a virtual Boston City Council meeting Tuesday as they continue hashing out the budget.

“I've spent the last week talking with my Cabinet and employees at City Hall about how we make sure we are not just reacting to the events in Minneapolis, but how do we make sure that we are responding in a way that’s meaningful and brings about systemic change," Walsh said in a statement.

"I'm continuing to have conversations with councilors and my staff about what our budget will look like this year because now is a time to roll up our sleeves and get real work done, not separately as the Mayor and City Council, but together as one government. I am committed to making real change and making Boston a national leader in building a more just future.”

Compared to other big cities in America, Boston has one of the lowest police budgets with 11%, or $414 million, of the city’s budget going towards police, according to Walsh's office.

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