DOJ Will Label New York ‘Anarchist Jurisdiction,’ Threaten Federal Funds

US DoJ Brands New York Portland and Seattle as Cities That Permit'Anarchy        
       REUTERS  Andrew Kelly

US DoJ Brands New York Portland and Seattle as Cities That Permit'Anarchy REUTERS Andrew Kelly

This comes after a memorandum issued by President Trump in early September, which had ordered a review of cities like Seattle, Portland, Washington, D.C., and New York City to determine whether it would be appropriate to redirect federal funding away from them.

"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", Attorney General William Barr said in a written release.

"We can not allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance", Attorney General William Barr said in the statement.

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".

New York City, Portland and Seattle are on the list of "anarchist cities" that Trump officials say have failed to stem crime linked to a summer of protests. "Our cities are bringing communities together; our cities are pushing forward after fighting back a pandemic and facing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, all despite recklessness and partisanship from the White House", the statement said.

Protests erupted across the country in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

The criteria laid out in the presidential memo for a city to be labelled as an "anarchist jurisdiction" includes fordding police intervention, withdrawing law enforcement from a geographic area, defunding police departments, and refusing to accept offers of law enforcement assistance from the federal government.

In a memo last week, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said the rarely-used seditious conspiracy statute should be considered in instances, for instance, "where a group has conspired to take a federal courthouse or other federal property by force".

Both Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo have forcefully rejected federal law enforcement support.

"I understand the politics, but when you try to manipulate and distort government agencies to play politics, which is what the Trump administration has done from day one ... this is more of the same", Cuomo told NBC 4 NY in response to Monday's announcement.

Cuomo compared the situation to when Trump tried to slash New York's federal criminal justice funding over its status as a sanctuary city for undocumented immigrants.

Shootings in New York City have been on the rise since looting and protests began on or about May 28, 2020.

"It's insulting to the people of New York City and his effort to withhold our funding is unconstitutional", the mayor added. "If they actually do this, we will challenge it legally, and they will lose once again".

"Trump, the Department of Justice, and Barr's obsession with Seattle and me is irrational and most importantly, a huge distraction", she said. "We just don't get bullied".

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