The Justice Department has identified three major U.S. cities that are accused of permitting, if not encouraging, lawless behavior, which could ultimately see them lose federal funding.
New York City, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle were each designated by the DOJ as jurisdictions that are “permitting anarchy, violence and destruction” in a news release issued Monday morning.
“The U.S. Department of Justice today identified the following three jurisdictions that have permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities,” the department wrote.
The DOJ further stated that leaders in New York City, Portland and Seattle had helped their respective cities match certain criteria by taking actions that helped to foment lawlessness amid a wave of unprecedented civil unrest this year.
The declaration that the cities have allowed themselves to become crime hotspots is a response to Sept. 2 memo from President Donald Trump, which asked the department to identify troubled areas in the country so that federal funding could come under review.
The White House memo referred to such locations as “anarchist jurisdictions.”
Attorney General William Barr issued a statement in the DOJ release about the now-designated anarchist jurisdictions of New York City, Portland and Seattle.
“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,” Barr said.
“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,” Barr added.
Other areas could soon be designated as anarchist jurisdictions, per the DOJ.
The department stated which criteria needed to be met for cities that were evaluated.
The three major U.S. cities met that criteria by “[Forbidding] the police force from intervening to restore order amid widespread or sustained violence or destruction,” and also by order the removal of “law enforcement protection from a geographical area or structure.”
Other criteria included defunding police agencies and refusing to accept federal law enforcement assistance.
The DOJ cited the hesitance of Seattle’s leadership to act during an armed and prolonged takeover of an entire neighborhood and police precinct as an “autonomous zone” in June by leftist activists.
CHAZ/CHOP “was allowed to stand for nearly a month, during which time two teenagers were shot and killed in the zone,” the DOJ said.
During the same time, per the department, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan both refused federal assistance.
As for New York City, the DOJ cited a spike in violent crimes and the city’s decision to respond by removing $1 billion from the NYPD budget.
The new release also stated New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have failed to take actions to adequately uphold the rule of law by rejecting federal law enforcement assistance.
Portland, per the DOJ, has experienced “100 consecutive nights of protests marred by vandalism, chaos, and even killing.”
“In the midst of this violence, the Portland City Council cut $15 million from the police bureau, eliminating 84 positions. Crucially, the cuts included the Gun Violence Reduction Team, which investigates shootings, and several positions from the police team that responds to emergency incidents,” the DOJ said.
The department said expects to update its list of cities that have permitted anarchy, violence and destruction of property.
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