The three cities of New York, Seattle, and Portland, were labeled anarchist jurisdictions by the Justice Department on Monday morning. The Justice Department also accused these three city governments of failing to control their populations, citing a spike in shootings, protests and looting.
“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,” said Attorney General Bill Barr in a statement announcing the designations. “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.”
In New York City, Barr said both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have “forcefully rejected federal law enforcement support” and has connected the uptick of shootings in July to the “looting and protests. And, the city of New York has acknowledged a 177% rise in shootings in July 2020 compared to July 2019.
In Seattle, Barr said that Mayor Jenny Durkan has reported that there has been 525% increase of “person-related crime” in the area designated for protests near the city’s capitol, yet, along with Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, has “publicly rejected” federal involvement in law enforcement activities.
In Portland, which has seen prolonged demonstrations for nearly three months, tensions were escalated over the summer when federal officers were deployed there over the wishes of the city’s Democratic mayor. The Trump administration’s five-week response from July through early August, was necessary to stop the police brutality, vandalism, and property damage as well as innocent lives. It is known as Operation Diligent Valor and has become a prominent issue in the presidential campaign.
In a September 2 memorandum, Trump said he would not allow federal funds to be “unduly wasted nor spent in a manner that directly violates our government’s promise to protect life, liberty and property.” His intent is to make good on his threat to withould federal aid in response to prolonged civil unrest in those areas.
The list of jurisdictions will be updated periodically in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Director of Office of Management and Budget.