US Attorney General William Barr labeled New York City, Seattle and Portland, Oregon, “anarchy” jurisdictions in a press release on Monday. The move will give the federal government the ability to deny federal funding to those jurisdictions.
In the press release, Barr cited increases in violence correlated with the protests for racial justice that began in May and June. As a basis for his actions, Barr relied on a memorandum criticized for providing support for government overreach. As evidence, Barr pointed to the $1 billon cut from New York Police Department Budget, property destruction in Portland and the murders that brought an end to the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone in Seattle. In addition, Barr cited the rejection of aid from federal law enforcement by the mayors of all three cities, and Governors Jay Inslee and Andrew Cuomo. The mayors and governors all expressed concerns that the presence of federal law enforcement increases tensions.
Barr did not discuss the causes of the violence, calling it the result of poor governing. In Portland an increase in violence and tension was caused by masked federal agents and clashes between protesters and supporters of President Donald Trump.
The move will likely bring legal challenges as many see it as an overreach of federal authority and a political move.