The Department of Justice (DOJ) deemed New York City, Portland and Seattle “anarchist jurisdictions” under President Trump’s instructions earlier this month to review federal funding to state and local governments in places where violence or vandalism has occurred during protests this summer.
That memo directed Attorney General William Barr, in consultation with Office of Management and Budget Director Russ Vought and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, to identify jurisdictions “that have permitted violence and the destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract these criminal activities (anarchist jurisdictions).”
On Monday, the Justice Department labeled NYC, Portland and Seattle such areas, though the department said it was still working to identify other jurisdictions that meet criteria outlined in Trump’s memo.
Barr said in a statement accompanying the DOJ’s announcement, “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.”
Historian Joanne Freeman explained that New York City isn’t in a state of anarchy, but that isn’t Barr’s point. He and Trump simply want to punish any opposition to the administration.
NYC isn’t in a state of anarchy.
But that’s not the point.
Outlawing & punishing opposition to the administration and civil protest: that’s the point.
Justice Dept. brands NYC an 'anarchist jurisdiction,' targets federal funds https://t.co/oWGqk0OoZ3
— Joanne Freeman (@jbf1755) September 21, 2020
The “anarchy” designation was news to the millions of New Yorkers who were seen visiting parks and gathering with friends at socially distanced brunches over the weekend.
Just last week, I smuggled out my phone to capture the terrifying “anarchy” in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. Once a peaceful respite. Now….this. https://t.co/DOGylxtB8j
— Scott Hechinger (@ScottHech) September 21, 2020
total anarchy this weekend in Little Italy pic.twitter.com/5bkkknLj7q
— Annemarie Dooling (@TravelingAnna) September 21, 2020
— Dave Snyder (@EpicallyHarshed) September 21, 2020
This is what anarchy in New York looks like pic.twitter.com/kfkpLuyMjG
— Kyle Harris (@heykyleharris) September 21, 2020
Anarchy in New York log, Saturday, September 19, 2020:
Things have devolved quickly. Today I fed a llama at the Queens Zoo who did not thank me in English.
— Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) September 21, 2020
IT'S GETTING WORSE https://t.co/cTBO2WQk9s
— Max Burns (@themaxburns) September 21, 2020
Extremely tense here in Seattle as well pic.twitter.com/7HCSFTAgmP
— turtlesallthewaydown (@anne_thayer) September 21, 2020
I just stepped outside to enjoy the anarchy myself. I pulled my mask down to take a sip of coffee and someone shouted "YOU'RE SELFISH" so I pulled it back up
— Laura Bassett (@LEBassett) September 21, 2020
This news deserves all the dunking it will get, but according to the article, it’s also a terrible excuse to potentially cut billions in federal grants to the city.
— Monica Castillo (@mcastimovies) September 21, 2020
NYC - land of Anarchy. According to @TheJusticeDept
— Kenny Burgos (@KennyBurgosNY) September 21, 2020