Justice Department brands NYC an 'anarchist jurisdiction'

Bill Barr’s Justice Department brands New York, Portland and Seattle as ‘anarchist jurisdictions’ targeted for defunding with billions at stake

  • The Justice Department issued a memo naming the three cities 
  • It says they ‘have permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activity’ 
  • New York is getting $7 billion in grants in 2021 
  • All three cities are run by local governments under Democratic control
  • Comes as President Trump campaigns across the country on ‘law and order’ 

The Justice Department declared New York City, Portland and Seattle as ‘anarchist jurisdictions that can have federal funding ripped away for failing to clamp down on violence according to its criteria. 

It listed the three cities as among those ‘that have permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activity.’

The designation comes with billions of dollars in federal funding at stake, following President Donald Trump’s order to make the designations amid violence and property damage that occurred during a summer of protests over the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police during his arrest. 

Attorney General Bill Barr’s Justice Department is calling out New York, Portland, and Seattle as ‘anarchist jurisdictions’ with billions in federal funding at stake

The agency made the designation in a document it titled: ‘Memorandum on Reviewing Funding to State and Local Government Recipients That Are Permitting Anarchy, Violence, and Destruction in American Cities.’

It comes weeks before Election Day while President Trump campaigns across the country on ‘law and order.’ 

The White House Office of Management and Budget is to make further determinations in the coming month.

The financial stakes for a city of New York’s size are huge. Federal funding accounts for $7 billion in funding as it faces shortfalls amid the coronavirus, NBC New York reported. 


The decision was accompanied by a statement from Trump loyalist Attorney General Bill Barr, who recently visited Chicago, another city Trump and the White House repeatedly single out for being saddled with violent crime. 

‘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.’ 

In the case of New York, DOJ cites a 177 per cent jump in shootings in July compared to the prior year. 

‘While the city faced increased unrest, gun violence, and property damage, the New York City Council cut $1 billion from NYPD’s FY21 budget,’ it noted. 

It called out DAs in Manhattan and Brooklyn who have ‘declined to prosecute charges of disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly arising from the protests.’

It also called out Portland for the way it handled 100 nights of consecutive protests, and Seattle for allowing protesters to set up and maintain the ‘Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone’ (CHAZ) downtown. 

The release states that they have ‘permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities.’

Trump has regularly gone after New York City and his surrogates tore into Mayor Bill DeBlasio at the Republican National Convention. DeBlasio and local officials painted ‘Black Lives Matter’ on Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower in July following protests. 

The move follows a directive by President Trump for the agency to designate ‘anarchist jurisdictions.’

The move to have DOJ call out local police forces for changes to their police budgets comes after the Republican Party spent decades building the brand as the party of federalism and local control.

‘For the past few months, several state and local governments have contributed to the violence and destruction in their jurisdictions by failing to enforce the law, disempowering and significantly defunding their police departments, and refusing to accept offers of federal law enforcement assistance,’ Trump said earlier this month announcing the program. 

‘To ensure that Federal funds are neither unduly wasted nor spent in a manner that directly violates our Government’s promise to protect life, liberty, and property, it is imperative that the Federal Government review the use of Federal funds by jurisdictions that permit anarchy, violence, and destruction in America’s cities,’  said.  

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