The Department of Justice has labeled three cities at "anarchist jurisdictions" following months of protests, riots and continued civil unrest over racism and police brutality. Officials said that leaders in New York City, Seattle, and Portland "have permitted violence and the destruction of property to persist." The Justice Department is attempting to follow through on a memo sent by President Donald Trump that sought to cut off federal funds to any municipalities that hamper efforts to crack down on the violent protests.
"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 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."
The Justice Department said that other cities may be added to this list.
It is unclear if the Trump administration will be able to pull federal funds from those cities. New York City officials said they will file a lawsuit if the Trump administration tries to stop them from receiving federal funds.
"This is just another one of President Trump's games. Political. Not based in facts in the least. Insulting to people of NYC. Unconstitutional," New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee blasted the Trump administration and accused them of trying to deflect attention away from the coronavirus pandemic.
"Trying to strip federal assistance is appalling at a time when Americans are struggling to pay rent and buy groceries because of the White House's abject failure to defeat COVID-19. The administration would rather deceive and divide through fear tactics than address the real crises families are facing right now," Inslee said.
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