DOJ Officially Designates NYC, Portland, Seattle As Violent Anarchy Zones

Clay Curtis
September 22, 2020

Attorney General William Barr said in a statement that the cities "have permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities".

Barr's memo cited whether "a jurisdiction forbids the police force from intervening to restore order amid widespread or sustained violence or destruction", whether " jurisdiction has withdrawn law enforcement protection from a geographical area or structure", whether police departments are being defunded and refusal of federal law enforcement help as the evaluating criteria for the list.

Among the reasons the Justice Department's report cites for the designations include the rising gun and violent crime rates in the cities, cuts to the police budgets, failure to prosecute protesters, and state and local officials rejecting support from federal law enforcement.

The loss of federal funding would be a crippling blow to cash-strapped New York City, which lost $9 billion in revenue amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Throughout the summer Republicans have cast American cities run by Democratic mayors as under siege by violence and lawlessness, despite the fact that most of the protests against police brutality have been largely peaceful.

"This designation is nothing more than a pathetic attempt to scare Americans into voting for a commander-in-chief who is actually incapable of commanding our nation", she said, adding that Trump "should be prepared to defend this illegal order in court, which hypocritically lays the groundwork to defund NY and the very types of law enforcement President Trump pretends to care about".

At his daily press briefing Mayor Bill de Blasio said that this morning he saw peace and tranquility, "anything but anarchy" calling the announcement "another one of president Trump's games".

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"This is thoroughly political and unconstitutional".

"The president does not have the authority to change the will of Congress", Johnson said.

An attempt to cut off federal funding to the cities would likely be met with immediate legal challenges and several federal judges ruled in favor of municipalities over similar attempts to withhold funding tied to immigration policies.

Barr has similarly made the issue one of his top priorities, leveling fiery attacks against local officials in the three cities while threatening direct intervention in cases where federal property or officials are endangered. In Portland, they pointed to 100 consecutive nights of protests "marred by vandalism, chaos, and even killing" and in New York City, the Justice Department pointed to a skyrocketing number of shootings throughout the five boroughs.

De Blasio said Trump's memorandum is part of the president's re-election campaign strategy. This memo is basically a threat to cities and states that they will lose federal funding if they do not comply with Trump's wishes and "control their darkies", so to speak, or else.

Such areas have now been designated "anarchist jurisdictions", and those three cities are the first to receive the label, although the DOJ said it is working to identify other cities that may meet Trump's criteria. "We have beat the president and the illegal actions of his DOJ in court before and have no doubt we will beat them again".

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