Seattle, Portland and now New York City are suing the Trump administration for labeling the cities as “anarchist jurisdictions” in an attempt to slash federal funding, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday.
In early September, President Donald Trump issued a memorandum stating that if a state or local government should allow “anarchy, violence and destruction” their federal funding would be reviewed and new restrictions would be placed on federal grant funding.
Later that month, the Department of Justice released a memo identifying all three cities as “anarchist jurisdictions” in response to the localities for “permitting violence and destruction to property” and for refusing to take “reasonable measures to counteract criminal activity.”
The Department of Justice sited a rise in shootings and looting in New York City since protests in response to the killing of Minneapolis man George Floyd began in late May as a reason for the designation. Other criteria the DOJ used to decided if anarchy controlled the city was the New York City Council’s decision to cut $1 billion from the NYPD’s 2021 fiscal budget while the city grappled with “unrest, gun violence and property damage” and Governor and Andrew Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio’s pushback against President Trump’s threats to send federal agent to crackdown on protesters in July.
The DOJ also justified labeling New York City an “anarchist jurisdiction” due to borough District Attorney’s refusal to prosecute protest-related charges, according to the memo.
“It’s morally wrong, it’s legally unacceptable, it’s unconstitutional and we are going to fight it,” de Blasio said. The lawsuit will be filed in Seattle later today, said the city’s Corporation Counsel Jim Johnson, to prevent the designation from being added to more applications for federal grants.
“We are bringing this action because they have taken concrete steps, they’ve actually taken this ‘anarchist designation’ and started to include it in applications for federal grants,” said Johnson. The city could potentially lose up to $12 billion in federal funds due to the designation.
Johnson argued that the administration is “overstepping their bounds” with the designation and that move is arbitrary, capricious with no basis in law. “This is a figment of Donald Trump’s troubled imagination,” said de Blasio. ” The only anarchy in this country is coming from the White House.” Johnson also argued that the determination violates a city’s right to determine how to police their streets and how to allocate budget funds.