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Justice Dept: NYC Allows ‘Anarchy, Violence, Destruction,’ Federal Funds In Jeopardy

"The Manhattan and Brooklyn District Attorneys have declined to prosecute charges of disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly arising from the protests," the DOJ said.
"The Manhattan and Brooklyn District Attorneys have declined to prosecute charges of disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly arising from the protests," the DOJ said. Photo Credit: Fox5 NEW YORK

New York City risks losing federal funding for “endangering innocent citizens” by allowing widespread violence and destruction and preventing police from doing their jobs, U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr said Monday.

Portland, Oregon and Seattle were included in a list released Monday by the Justice Department of jurisdictions that “have permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities.”

Shootings in New York City “have been on the rise since looting and protests began on or about May 28, 2020,” the U.S. Department of Justice reported on Monday.

“For July 2020, shootings increased from 88 to 244, an increase of 177% over July 2019,” the Justice Department reported. “In August 2020, shootings increased from 91 to 242, a 166% increase over August 2019.

“While the city faced increased unrest, gun violence, and property damage, the New York City Council cut $1 billion from NYPD’s FY21 budget,” it added. “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.

"Meanwhile, the Manhattan and Brooklyn District Attorneys have declined to prosecute charges of disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly arising from the protests, and the District Attorneys in Queens and the Bronx have declined to prosecute other protest-related charges.

“Both Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo have forcefully rejected federal law enforcement support,” the report added.

The list was published on the DOJ’s website Monday in response to a memo from President Trump entitled “Memorandum on Reviewing Funding to State and Local Government Recipients That Are Permitting Anarchy, Violence, and Destruction in American Cities.”

“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,” U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr said. “We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance.”

The Justice Department’s criteria:

• Whether a jurisdiction forbids the police force from intervening to restore order amid widespread or sustained violence or destruction.

• Whether a jurisdiction has withdrawn law enforcement protection from a geographical area or structure that law enforcement officers are lawfully entitled to access but have been officially prevented from accessing or permitted to access only in exceptional circumstances, except when law enforcement officers are briefly withheld as a tactical decision intended to resolve safely and expeditiously a specific and ongoing unlawful incident posing an imminent threat to the safety of individuals or law enforcement officers.

• Whether a jurisdiction disempowers or defunds police departments.

• Whether a jurisdiction unreasonably refuses to accept offers of law enforcement assistance from the Federal Government.

• Any other related factors the Attorney General deems appropriate.

“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,” Barr said.

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