NYC designated 'anarchist jurisdiction' by Justice Dept.; federal funding at stake

US DoJ Brands New York Portland and Seattle as Cities That Permit'Anarchy        
       REUTERS  Andrew Kelly

"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", Barr said in the release.

A number of cities, including NY, sued the US government after the Justice Department announced in 2017 that it would withhold grant money from cities and states until they gave federal immigration authorities access to jails and provide advance notice when someone in the country illegally is about to be released.

Barr cited rising gun violence in NY, cuts to the city's police budget and other criteria for justifying its designation as an "anarchist jurisdiction".

The budget resulted in the cancellation of the new police recruiting class, cuts to overtime spending, and the transfer of certain police functions, including school safety, out of the NYPD.

Last week, the Justice Department confirmed that officials researched the possibility of bringing criminal or civil rights charges against Portland city officials related to their response to growing unrest in the city throughout the summer.

Protests erupted across the country in response to the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

"Both Mayor [Bill] de Blasio and Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo have forcefully rejected federal law enforcement support", the DOJ concluded in its statement. But New York's attorney general also openly trolled Trump, accusing him of merely pretending to care about about law enforcement funding, having laid the groundwork to defund police. "It's thoroughly political, it's part of his campaign strategy", de Blasio said during a press briefing.

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An attempt to cut off federal funding to the cities would likely be met with immediate legal challenges and several federal judges ruled in favor of municipalities over similar attempts to withhold funding tied to immigration policies.

"The president can't supersede the law and say I'm going to make those funds basically discretionary funds, which is what he would have to do", the governor said. "Essentially this would be a high-tech heist - to try to use federal funds to coerce cities and states, which clearly he's attempting to do". The city and the state of NY have said they will sue the federal government over the designation.

"The president does not have the authority to change the will of Congress", he said.

"Trump, the Department of Justice, and Barr's obsession with Seattle and me is irrational and most importantly, a huge distraction", she said.

"We said it was illegal and unconstitutional".

"I understand the politics, but when you try to manipulate and distort government agencies to play politics, which is what the Trump administration has done from day one ... this is more of the same", Cuomo told NBC 4 NY in response to Monday's announcement.

Aside from seeking to punish the cities Trump disagrees with, especially in regards to protests supporting the Movement for Black Lives, the memo issued out earlier this month and the designations made on Monday may be a means to rile up the president's base of support just six weeks out from Election Day.

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