The US administration has named three cities on Monday that could lose federal funds following the White House accused the city authorities of tolerating violence and unrest. New York, Seattle, and Portland are on the list of the anarchist cities list that the Trump administration says have failed to stem the crime linked to mass protests.
Earlier this month, in a memo, Trump also threatened to cut White House funds for New York and other cities. Meanwhile, the mayors of the cities called this a political stunt and said that they would sue the President for halting or cutting the funding.
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On Monday, the Justice Department, in a statement, laid out the recent crime rates in the cities and how the local authorities and law enforcement responded to it. Moreover, William Barr, the Attorney General, said in a statement, “We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance.”
He further called on the local authorities in the three cities to change their course and become serious about performing the government’s basic functions, including protecting their residents and their properties.
The department further noted that these cities were highlighted because they fulfilled the criteria, like forbidding the law enforcement to restore law and order in the amid sustained and widespread unrest, as well as seeking to defund or delegitimize the police department. Furthermore, refusing to accept federal reinforcements is also a key factor.
Since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, all three cities have seen mass protests. However, what form of federal cutting will be made for the cities remains unclear. Local media reported that federal funds targeted by Trump comprise a large portion of New York’s annual budget.
It has already been cut thin due to the coronavirus outbreak. Meanwhile, the mayors of Seattle, Washington, New York, and Portland said in a joint statement that the incumbent President is playing cheap politics with congressionally directed city funds.
They further described the move as unconstitutional and accused the Trump administration of shirking responsibility and placing blame on others. Since the 1990s, violent crimes in the US have generally declined. But in other cities, including New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia, have risen steeply.
The federal government’s announcement comes amid a summer rocked by mass protests against the treatment of African Americans at the hands of law enforcement agencies in the US. Some demonstrations have also resulted in key reforms in police around the country.
Meanwhile, in New York City, the murders and shooting rates have skyrocketed as social organizations and programs have been placed on hold due to coronavirus outbreak. As protests against police brutality have often turned violent, cases of lootings and violence also made national news.
On Monday, the New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, called Trump’s decision as one of his other political games and added that it is an insult for the people of the city. For nearly a month, the authorities in Seattle established an autonomous zone, where they forbade police from entering the area. However, in early June, the zone was dismantled as the several shootings were reported.
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