I covered the riots & looting in Portland & Sacramento for several weeks. This is what it takes to get mayors who allow lawlessness to reign in their cities to think twice about restricting police from doing their jobs. Bravo, AG Barr!
“The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Monday identified New York City, Portland and Seattle as “local governments that are permitting anarchy, violence, and destruction in American cities,” a move that comes as the federal government continues to take a tough stance against localized rioting in some areas of the country.
President Trump earlier this month targeted those three cities in a memo to Attorney General William Barr and the Office of Management and Budget asking for a review of federal funding to “anarchist” jurisdictions. The DOJ memo Monday essentially serves as notice that New York City, Portland and Seattle meet the criteria Trump set out for potential defunding.
It’s unclear whether and how much funding may eventually be withdrawn from the cities and if such a move would be legal, as it would likely be challenged in the courts.
Department of Justice Identifies New York City, Portland and Seattle as Jurisdictions Permitting Violence and Destruction of Property https://t.co/CvqKwNIQTw
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) September 21, 2020
“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 in a statement. “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.”
“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.”
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. @RussVought45
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2020
Trump’s tweet followed a report from The New York Post that stated that the administration was targeting New York City, Portland, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
The Post reported:
“Trump on Wednesday signed a five-page memo ordering all federal agencies to send reports to the White House Office of Management and Budget that detail funds that can be redirected.
New York City, Washington, DC, Seattle and Portland are initial targets as Trump makes “law and order” a centerpiece of his reelection campaign after months of unrest and violence following the May killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police.”
“My Administration will not allow Federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones,” the memo stated. “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.”
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has repeatedly called on the violence in his city to end all the way back to May, but to little effect. He’s 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.
I’m confirming today that Portland Police abided by my order banning the use of tear gas for crowd control during a protest Friday night in the South Waterfront neighborhood.
— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) September 19, 2020
New York City has had some of the same politically motivated unrest as D.C. and Portland, but the attorney general’s memo largely cites shootings and other crime, while the New York Police Department’s budget has been cut, as the reason for its inclusion on the list.
In a joint statement, Mayors Bill de Blasio of New York, Jenny Durkan of Seattle and Wheeler called threats to revoke federal funding “thoroughly political and unconstitutional.”
“The President is playing cheap political games with Congressionally directed funds. Our cities are bringing communities together; our cities are pushing forward after fighting back a pandemic and facing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, all despite recklessness and partisanship from the White House,” the statement said. “What the Trump Administration is engaging in now is more of what we’ve seen all along: shirking responsibility and placing blame elsewhere to cover its failure.”
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.”
Share this if you want federal funds withheld from cities that allow lawlessness to reign!
Jeff Rainforth is a freelance photographer & news editor covering events on the US/Mexico border, and riots & unrest in Democrat-run cities.
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