New York City branded 'anarchist' by Department of Justice

New York City was branded an 'anarchist' city by the U.S. Department of Justice Monday for rising gun violence, cuts to police funding and failing to prosecute protesters.

The DOJ posted a list of cities including Portland and Seattle to its website that were now designated as anarchist following President Trump's memorandum issued earlier this month to defund local governments that were permitting anarchy, violence and destruction. 

“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,” said Attorney General William P. Barr.  “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.”

New York City receives $7.4B in federal funding for affordable housing, community development and other programs. Congress is responsible for appropriating the funds with legal requirements.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo responded to the designation during a telephone news conference.

"The President can't supersede the law and say I'm going to make those laws basically discretionary funds which is what he would basically have to do," said Cuomo. 

Violence and protests erupted in New York following the death of George Floyd. Since then, similar demonstrations calling for racial justice and law enforcement reform have ensued.

The Justice Department released the following information about NYC:

New York City

Shootings in New York City have been on the rise since looting and protests began on or about May 28, 2020. For July 2020, shootings increased from 88 to 244, an increase of 177% over July 2019. In August 2020, shootings increased from 91 to 242, a 166% increase over August 2019.

NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2020/06/01: Protesters set fire on garbage receptacle and looters broke into Macys department store. Protests turn into looting and destructions in Manhattan before first curfew imposed. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/Lig

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

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 Bill de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo have forcefully rejected federal law enforcement support.

"The President is not above the law," said Cuomo.

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