DoJ Deems These 3 Cities 'Anarchist Jurisdictions'

NYC, Portland, and Seattle
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 22, 2020 12:33 AM CDT
DoJ Threatens Funding for These 3 'Anarchist' Cities
US Attorney General William Barr arrives to speak with federal officials for a panel discussion on combatting human trafficking at the US Attorney's Office on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in Atlanta.   (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

The Justice Department identified New York City; Portland, Ore.; and Seattle as three cities that could have federal funding slashed under a memorandum by President Trump that sought to identify localities that permit “anarchy, violence and destruction in American cities.” The designation, which could open the door for the federal government to cut off some funding to the cities, drew immediate criticism from local elected officials. It comes as Trump throughout the summer has cast American cities run by Democratic mayors as under siege by violence and lawlessness, despite the fact that most of the demonstrations against racial injustice have been largely peaceful. An attempt to cut off federal funding to the cities would likely be met with immediate legal challenges and several federal judges ruled in favor of municipalities over similar attempts to withhold funding tied to immigration policies.

The Justice Department said the three cities were designated because they meet four main criteria, including “whether a jurisdiction forbids the police force from intervening to restore order amid widespread or sustained violence or destruction” and whether the city “disempowers or defunds police departments.” Attorney General William Barr said he hoped the designation would convince the cities to “reverse course and become serious about performing the basic function of government and start protecting their own citizens.” In a joint statement, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan decried the designation as “thoroughly political and unconstitutional.” (More here.)

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