The Department of Justice fired a warning shot at the most liberal cities in America Monday morning; designating New York City, Seattle, and Portland as “anarchist jurisdictions” that “permit violence” against property.
“In a statement, the agency hit leaders of the three cities for rejecting federal law enforcement assistance in quelling protests while pointing to ongoing demonstrations that have continued for weeks over the treatment of Black Americans by law enforcement,” reports The Hill.
“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 William 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.”
The news release also highlighted New York and Portland’s efforts to cut police funding in the wake of demonstrations, which began in late May following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
In Seattle, the news release pointed to the area formerly known as the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest (CHOP), a zone of downtown Seattle occupied by protesters for days after they forced police to withdraw from the area. The CHOP was finally closed down by police, who returned to the area following several late-night shootings.
“For nearly a month, starting in June, the City of Seattle permitted anarchists and activists to seize six square blocks of the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood,” the Justice Department charged.
The news release added that other cities could be added to the list of so-called anarchist jurisdictions if necessary: “The Department of Justice is continuing to work to identify jurisdictions that meet the criteria set out in the President’s Memorandum and will periodically update the list of selected jurisdictions as required therein.”
The designations come following Trump’s Sept. 2 order requiring agency heads to submit reports detailing all federal funds sent to the three cities as well as Washington, D.C., where protests at the White House have caused Trump to clash publicly with the city’s mayor over the scope of law enforcement’s response to the demonstrators.
“My Administration will do everything in its power to prevent weak mayors and lawless cities from taking Federal dollars while they let anarchists harm people, burn buildings, and ruin lives and businesses. We’re putting them on notice today,” the president tweeted at the time.