DOJ Labels Portland, Seattle, NYC as Jurisdictions That Permit Anarchy, Violence, Property Destruction

Oregon State Troopers and Portland police advance through tear gas while confronting rioters in Portland, Ore., on Sept. 5, 2020. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Oregon State Troopers and Portland police advance through tear gas while confronting rioters in Portland, Ore., on Sept. 5, 2020. (Nathan Howard/Getty Images)

Officials in New York City, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon, permitted violence and destruction of property and have failed to undertake measures to counteract criminal activities, the Department of Justice said on Sept. 21.

Continuing unrest in the cities since late May has led to deaths, looting, and the burning of buildings.

“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.

“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 a joint statement, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, all Democrats, called the effort to strip 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. 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,” they said.

Durkan said in a separate statement sent to The Epoch Times that the Trump administration’s efforts to defund the cities is a “gross misuse of federal power.”

“Trump, the Department of Justice, and Barr’s obsession with Seattle and me is irrational and most importantly, a huge distraction,” she said, adding: “In Seattle, we’ll remain focused on addressing the four crises in front of us: the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented economic downturn, the greatest civil rights reckoning in decades, and the continued threat of climate change.”

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