The Department of Justice (DOJ) has designated New York City, Portland, Ore., and Seattle as “anarchist jurisdictions” according to guidelines issued by President Trump earlier this month.
The Sept. 2 memo instructs federal agencies to limit funding to cities that receive the designation. New York, which receives billions in federal grants per year, has already threatened to sue the Trump administration, reports NBC New York.
According to the DOJ, the three cities “have permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities.”
In a news conference on Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo fired back at the Trump administration which has accused all three cities of not enforcing the law properly.
“I understand the politics, but when you try to manipulate and distort government agencies to play politics, which is what the Trump administration has done from day one … this is more of the same,” Cuomo told reporters. “The president can’t supersede the law and say I’m going to make those funds basically discretionary funds, which is what he would have to do.”
“If they actually do this, we will challenge it legally, and they will lose once again,” he added.
For New York City, the DOJ based its designation on skyrocketing gun violence, cuts to the New York Police Department budget, and district attorneys across the city refusing to prosecute charges related to protests and riots in recent months.
There were 242 shootings last month compared to the 91 recorded in August 2019, according to NYPD data. New York City saw 1,014 shootings to date as of Aug. 31 – an 87% spike from the 541 reported during the same period last year, police 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,” U.S. Attorney General William Barr said in a statement.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has unsuccessfully called on the violence in his city to end. Wheeler has also limited the tactics Portland police officers can take to control violent crowds, including banning the use of tear gas. The DOJ noted that Portland has now surpassed 100 consecutive nights of unrest, reports Fox News.
In order to meet the criteria as an “anarchist jurisdiction,” Barr’s memo also cited whether “a jurisdiction forbids the police force from intervening to restore order amid widespread or sustained violence or destruction,” “jurisdiction has withdrawn law enforcement protection from a geographical area or structure,” or police departments are being defunded and municipalities have refused federal law enforcement help, according to Fox News.