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Whitney Houston’s funeral cost her hometown of Newark, N.J., $187,000 in police overtime, and some residents aren’t happy about footing the bill.
Local authorities staffed nearly 200 police officers at the New Baptist Church, where the funeral took place, as well as at the funeral home and a private gathering for friends and family. The nearly $200,000 bill represents about 5 percent of the department’s $4 million annual budget, CBS New York reports.
Newark Councilwoman Mildred Crump said the police protection and barricades were necessary to hold back the thousands of people who swarmed the area surrounding the funeral.
“If they had not been there someone may have been trampled, seriously hurt,” Crump said.
However, some Newark residents said the barrier between the public and the funeral was part of their frustration. Those residents are asking why taxpayers should foot the bill for the police protection if they were not given access to the funeral.
“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous when you have people who are unemployed and homeless, people walking up and down the streets,” said Quincy Ruffin, a Newark resident.
Ruffin thought the Houston family should have paid for its own security.
The funeral for the late singer was covered live by several cable networks and featured tributes from Houston’s The Bodyguard co-star Kevin Costner, producer Clive Davis and Tyler Perry. Last week, new details emerged about the cause of Houston’s death, which was ruled an accidental drowning. Narcotics found in Houston’s system are believed to have played a role.
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