The DOJ says the three cities have allowed the violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to take reasonable steps to counter criminal activity.
The list, which will be updated, has been published on the DOJ website Monday in reply to President Donald Trump’s Memorandum dated September 2, 2020, entitled “Memorandum on the Review of Funding to Recipient States and Local Governments that Enable Lawlessness, Violence, and Destruction in American Cities.”
This is a step towards denying federal funding to these cities.
“When state and local leaders prevent their own law enforcement officials and agencies from doing their jobs, it puts innocent citizens who deserve protection at risk, including those trying to gather and protest. peacefully,” Attorney General William Barr said. “We cannot allow federal taxpayer dollars to be wasted when citizen safety is at stake. I hope the cities identified by the Department of Justice today will step back and get serious about the performing the basic function of government and will begin to protect their own citizens.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio has threatened legal action if the president pursues funding.
“It makes no sense,” he said. “By the way, your words don’t carry much weight on this subject because the Supreme Court has ruled. The President of the United States cannot interfere with federal funding for cities and states just because he We have laws in this country. So if you persist and try to refuse funding, we will see you in court. And again, we will beat you in court.
The mayor responded to the designation on Monday, after visiting a school in Elmhurst, Queens, to mark the first day of in-person learning.
“I saw peace, tranquility,” he said. “I saw something other than anarchy.
He called it “just another of President Trump’s games” and said it’s “part of his campaign strategy.” The mayor added that it was “insulting to the people of New York” and called it “unconstitutional.”
De Blasio joined Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan in issuing a joint statement in response to Trump’s threat to revoke federal funding.
“It’s completely political and unconstitutional,” he said, “The president is playing cheap political games with funds directed by Congress. Our cities are bringing communities together; our cities are moving forward after battling a pandemic and faces the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, despite the recklessness and partisanship of the White House What the Trump administration is now committing to is more in line with what we have seen from the start: shirk responsibility and shift blame to others to cover up failure.
Governor Andrew Cuomo also weighed in, calling it “a continuation of (Trump’s) political theme, that he is the candidate for law and order.”
“I understand politics, but when you try to manipulate government agencies into politics, which the Trump administration has done since day one,” he said, “a few years ago, they said shrine cities wouldn’t get criminal justice money. We said it was illegal and unconstitutional. We sued them and we won. The federal court said it couldn’t. take federal money that had been appropriated by Congress.
He said Trump had no control over those funds.
“The president can’t override the law and say, I’m going to make these funds basically discretionary funds, which he should be doing, basically saying, I control all federal funding,” he said. “It doesn’t control all federal funding. Federal law controls federal funding, and federal law is very specific.”
New York Attorney General Letitia James also released a statement, saying the state was bracing for a legal fight.
“As the nation heads toward 200,000 COVID-19 deaths and tens of millions remain out of work, President Trump is trying to distract the American people from their failures as a leader and is using the last few months of his presidency to sow more chaos, more hate and more fear,” she said. “This designation is nothing more than a pathetic attempt to scare Americans into voting for a commander. leader who is in fact incapable of commanding our nation. President Trump has failed to listen to scientists, failed to steer our economy through this pandemic, and repeatedly failed to bring our nation together. The president should be prepared to defend this illegal order in court, which hypocritically lays the groundwork to defund New York and the very types of law enforcement that President Trump claims to care about. We’ve beaten the president and his DOJ’s illegal actions in court before and I have no doubt we’ll beat them again.”
The evaluation criteria for each city are as follows:
– If a jurisdiction prohibits police forces from intervening to restore order in a context of widespread or sustained violence or destruction.
– If a jurisdiction has removed law enforcement protection from a geographic area or structure to which law enforcement officers are legally entitled to access but have been officially barred from access or permitted access only in exceptional circumstances, except when law enforcement officers are briefly detained as a tactical decision to safely and expeditiously resolve a specific and ongoing unlawful incident posing an imminent threat to the safety of persons or law enforcement officers.
– If a jurisdiction disempowers or defunds the police services.
– If a jurisdiction unreasonably refuses to accept offers of federal government law enforcement assistance.
– Any other related factor that the Attorney General deems appropriate.
New York City
– Shootings in New York have been on the rise since looting and protests began on or around May 28, 2020. For July 2020, shootings increased from 88 to 244, a 177% increase from July 2019. In August 2020, shootings increased from 91 to 242, a 166% increase from August 2019.
– As the city faced increased unrest, gun violence and property damage, the New York City Council cut $1 billion from the NYPD’s FY21 budget.
— The budget resulted in the cancellation of the new police recruiting class, cuts to overtime spending, and the transfer of some police functions, including school security, out of the NYPD.
– Meanwhile, Manhattan and Brooklyn district attorneys declined to pursue disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly charges stemming from the protests, and Queens and Bronx district attorneys declined to pursue other related charges to demonstrations.
– Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo have forcefully rejected support for federal law enforcement.
– This month, Portland marked 100 consecutive nights of protests marred by vandalism, mayhem and even murder.
– People prone to violence regularly started fires, threw projectiles at law enforcement and destroyed property. Many law enforcement officers, among others, were injured.
– Shootings increased by more than 140% in June and July 2020 compared to the same period last year.
– Amid this violence, the Portland City Council cut $15 million from the police department, eliminating 84 positions. Importantly, the cuts have included the gun violence reduction team, which investigates shootings, and several positions in the police team that responds to emergency incidents.
– In August, Portland Mayor Wheeler sent a letter to President Trump expressly rejecting the administration’s offer to federal law enforcement to stop violent protests.
– For nearly a month, beginning in June, the city of Seattle allowed anarchists and activists to take over six blocks of the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, naming their new enclave the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” (CHAZ) then the “Capitol Hill Occupied Manifestation” (CHOP).
– Law enforcement and firefighters were prevented from entering the territory. The Seattle Police Department was ordered to abandon their compound within CHOP.
– Crimes against the person in CHOP increased 525% over the same period in the same area the previous year, including by Mayor Durkan’s own tally “two additional homicides, 6 additional robberies and 16 counts additional serious incidents (to include 2 non-fatal shootings).”
– CHOP was allowed to stand for nearly a month, during which time two teenagers were shot and killed in the area.
– Seattle City Council, Mayor Durkan and Washington Governor Jay Inslee have publicly rejected federal involvement in law enforcement activities in the City of Seattle.
Earlier this month, Governor Andrew Cuomo said anything Trump could do to hurt New York, he did.
The $7 billion in federal dollars for New York City is used to fund the following programs and departments:
– Temporary assistance to needy families – $1.3 billion
– Title I Education – $705 million
– Child care and development block – $499 million
– Section 8 – $437 million
– Medical Assistance Program – $209 million
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