The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday officially designated three major U.S. cities as “anarchist jurisdictions” that allow “anarchy, violence, and destruction.”
The DOJ included New York City, N.Y., Portland, Ore., and Seattle, Wash. on a newly established list created after President Donald Trump ordered identification and review of federally-funded cities allowing destructive rioting. The order came in a Sept. 2 memo entitled, “Memorandum on Reviewing Funding to State and Local Government Recipients That Are Permitting Anarchy, Violence, and Destruction in American Cities.”
Trump’s memo had ordered Attorney General Bill Barr to “publish on the Department of Justice website a list identifying State and local jurisdictions that have permitted violence and the destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract these criminal activities (anarchist jurisdictions).”
The memo further ordered the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to recommend guidance on restricting funding to those cities deemed “anarchist jurisdictions,” adding, “My Administration will not allow Federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones.”
The DOJ added the cities to its list after assessing them against a list of criteria. The criteria looks at whether law enforcement is prevented from restoring order in the city or withdrawn entirely from a violent area, whether cities have defunded or disempowered law enforcement, and refusal of federal law enforcement assistance.
“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 Barr. “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.”
NYC, Portland, and Seattle have seen steady riots since late May after the death of George Floyd, a black man, in Minneapolis, Minn. police custody.
In NYC alone, shootings increased 177 percent in July 2020 compared to July 2019, and 166 percent in August 2020 compared to August 2019. Despite increased gun violence, and civil unrest with riots and looting, the New York City Council cut $1 billion from the police department budget for fiscal year 2021.
In Portland, shootings increased more than 140 percent in June and July compared to the same time last year, and the city has experienced more than 100 consecutive nights of rioting – some of which have included fatal shootings. At least 74 individuals are facing federal charges for committing crimes while demonstrating in Portland, the DOJ said.
In Seattle, law enforcement was ordered to stand down as protesters established the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” (CHAZ) in June. The area encompassed six blocks of the city, in which crime increased a staggering 525 percent compared to June 2019, and yielded an increase in homicides, aggravated assaults, and robberies also compared to the same time in 2019.