The Department of Justice has labeled New York City, Seattle, and Portland, Oregon, as "anarchist jurisdictions," a designation that could lead to a withdrawal of federal funding from those cities, according to the New York Post.
The three cities earned the designation for efforts to reduce police funding, or for their response to the race riots that started in late May after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. White House budget director Russ Vought will reportedly issue guidance about cutting funding to the cities in the coming weeks.
"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," the statement continued.
Earlier this month, President Donald Trump issued a memo expressing a desire for Seattle, Portland, New York City, and Washington, D.C., to have federal funding reviewed in light of their response to unrest.
"My Administration will not allow Federal tax dollars to fund cities that allow themselves to deteriorate into lawless zones," Trump's memo read. "To ensure that Federal funds are neither unduly wasted nor spent in a manner that directly violates our Government's promise to protect life, liberty, and property, it is imperative that the Federal Government review the use of Federal funds by jurisdictions that permit anarchy, violence, and destruction in America's cities."
New York City has seen a spike in crime as Mayor Bill de Blasio sought to cut funding to the NYPD and disbanded a significant plainclothes crime unit.
Seattle surrendered a police precinct and nine blocks of the city to protesters who established a continuous protest area first referred to as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, later renamed the Capitol Hill Organized Protest. That area of Seattle was occupied for roughly a month, and for much of that time the protesters had the support of Mayor Jenny Durkan.
Portland has had more than 100 straight days of protests, some of which have devolved into riots, including vandalism and deadly violence. President Trump sent federal law enforcement to the city to help protect property and quell the violence, but that effort was met with resistance from Mayor Ted Wheeler, who is also Portland's police commissioner.
Additionally, Multnomah County District Attorney Mike Schmidt announced a policy in August that said many riot-related crimes would not be prosecuted.