The United States Department of Justice has declared New York City, Portland, Ore., and Seattle “anarchist jurisdictions,” setting the stage for federal funds to be withheld from those locales until they comply with the wishes of Donald Trump.
NBC New York reports the Justice Department cited “New York City’s rising gun violence, cuts to the NYPD’s budget, and moves by various district attorneys not to prosecute charges related to protests earlier this summer” as reasons for the designation.
Protests erupted across the country in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. Floyd’s death is one of many cited in a long line of what many see as the extrajudicial killing of unarmed Black people at the hands of police. His death came on the heels of national attention highlighting the death of Breonna Taylor, an EMT in Louisville, Ky., who was killed in her home when police officers attempted to serve a no-knock warrant on a person who no longer resided there and was already in custody.
The DOJ is following a memo put out by Trump on Sept. 2 that specifically named NYC, Portland and Seattle as cities that were “permitting anarchy, violence and destruction in American cities.”
“It is the policy and purpose of the United States Government to protect the lives and property of all people in the United States from unlawful acts of violence and destruction,” Trump “wrote” in the memo. “Without law and order, democracy cannot function. Americans cannot exercise their rights, including their rights to peaceful expression, assembly, and protest. Property is destroyed, and innocent citizens are injured or killed.”
It’s weird that there is none of this concern when sports teams lose and angry (white) fans tear up cities, burn cars and generally act a fool over a score in a ball game. It’s odd that it’s only when people protest the senseless killing of unarmed Black people who pose no threat that the “president” sees this as a necessary action.
The memo goes on to state that “several State and local governments have contributed to the violence and destruction in their jurisdictions by failing to enforce the law, disempowering and significantly defunding their police departments, and refusing to accept offers of Federal law enforcement assistance.”
The memo goes on to directly cite the July protests in both Seattle and Portland as well as protests that took place in NYC during May and June as examples of said “anarchy.”
Yes. People exercising their First Amendment rights is anarchy. Never mind that many of the so-called rioters were outliers not directly tied to the many peaceful protests that occurred. Never mind that the vast majority of protests over the summer were peaceful. This memo is basically a threat to cities and states that they will lose federal funding if they do not comply with Trump’s wishes and “control their darkies,” so to speak, or else.
For his part, Evil John Goodman, aka right-wing Fred Flinstone, toed the company line and justified his actions by saying 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.”
I guess it doesn’t matter when people are literally protesting and begging to protect the citizenry from unhinged police officers.
Bill de Blasio, who Senior Editor Stephen A. Crockett Jr. keeps reminding me has a Black son named Dante, pushed back on the decision Monday, saying, “I was out in Elmhurst Queens this morning, I saw peace, tranquility, I saw people going about their business, people excited that it’s the first day of school – I saw anything but anarchy. This is just another one of President Trump’s games. It’s insulting to the people of New York City and his effort to withhold our funding is unconstitutional.”
Both the city and the state of New York have threatened to sue the government over the “anarchist jurisdiction” designation.