By The SATimes News Service
Washington: The Justice Department on Monday labeled three cities “anarchy” jurisdictions — New York, Seattle and Portland, Oregon — on orders from President Donald Trump, making good on the President’s threat to withhold federal aid in response to prolonged civil unrest in those areas.
The Democratic leaders in those cities have largely opposed federal intervention despite some rising crime rates, citing a desire to not escalate tensions.
The announcement is overtly political and is certain to trigger legal challenges. Trump has frequently touted himself as the “law and order” candidate as he seeks reelection in the wake of the summer’s demonstrations over racial justice, even though the overwhelming majority of the protests have been peaceful.
It’s also notable that cities located in Wisconsin or Minnesota — which have seen unrest this summer but are considered competitive in the presidential election — are not included.
“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,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement on Monday. “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 New York City, Barr said both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have “forcefully rejected federal law enforcement support” and has connected the uptick of shootings in July to the “looting and protests.”