The Justice Department announced Monday that New York City, Seattle and Portland, Ore., would be designated as jurisdictions “permitting violence and destruction of property” under President Trump’s early-September order requiring federal agencies to submit potential funding cuts for cities “permitting anarchy.”
President Trump earlier this month targeted those three cities in a memo to Attorney General William Barr and the Office of Management and Budget asking for a review of federal funding to “anarchist” jurisdictions. The DOJ memo Monday essentially serves as notice that New York City, Portland and Seattle meet the criteria Trump set out for potential defunding.
“When state and local leaders impede their own law enforcement officers and agencies from doing their jobs, it endangers innocent citizens who deserve to be protected, including those who are trying to peacefully assemble and protest,” Barr said in a statement. “We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance. It is my hope that the cities identified by the Department of Justice today will reverse course and become serious about performing the basic function of government and start protecting their own citizens.”
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has repeatedly called on the violence in his city to end all the way back to May, but to little effect. He’s also limited the tactics Portland police officers can take to control violent crowds, including banning the use of tear gas. The DOJ noted that Portland has now surpassed 100 consecutive nights of unrest.
New York City has had some of the same politically motivated unrest as D.C. and Portland, but the attorney general’s memo largely cites shootings and other crime, while the New York Police Department’s budget has been cut, as the reason for its inclusion on the list.
In Seattle, the news release pointed to the area formerly known as the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP), a zone of downtown Seattle occupied by protesters for days after they forced police to withdraw from the area. The CHOP was finally closed down by police, who returned to the area following several late-night shootings.
“For nearly a month, starting in June, the City of Seattle permitted anarchists and activists to seize six square blocks of the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood,” the Justice Department charged.
“My Administration will do everything in its power to prevent weak mayors and lawless cities from taking Federal dollars while they let anarchists harm people, burn buildings, and ruin lives and businesses. We’re putting them on notice today,” the president tweeted at the time.
Sources: The Hill and Fox News; Photo: NBC New York