The US Department of Justice warned on Monday that the progressive cities of New York, Portland and Seattle could be deprived of federal funding because of supposed laxity in the maintenance of order, in the extension of a decree published early September by Donald Trump.
Authorities in New York have threatened to take legal action if the Republican government follows through on its threats. “We cannot waste public funds when the safety of citizens is at stake”, said US Department of Justice William Barr. For the Trump administration, local authorities in New York, Seattle and Portland have let it develop “Anarchy, violence and destruction”. Portland and Seattle are blacklisted for failing to curb the excesses that occurred on the sidelines of the demonstrations linked to the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by the Minneapolis police during his arrest.
In the case of Seattle, it is above all a question of “Autonomous zone” established in a district of the city for several weeks and from which the police had withdrawn. But this perimeter was evacuated in early July, after several incidents including two murderers, by the police, who regained control of the premises. As for Portland, the Trump administration denounces the «chaos» born from daily demonstrations, on the sidelines of which degradations took place. New York is criticized for not having prosecuted some protesters arrested during the spring marches as well as the increase in the number of shootings in the city in recent months.
“Against the Constitution”
“All this is deeply political and contrary to the Constitution”, reacted the mayors of the three cities concerned, in a joint statement, accusing the Trump administration of “To flee its responsibilities and to throw its blame on others to hide its failings”. New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has warned that if the Trump administration does attempt to deprive New York City of some of its federal funding, it will take legal action. At a press conference, a New York City mayor legal adviser recalled that federal funding was up to Congress, not government. In 2019, New York received $ 8.4 billion in federal funding, or 9.1% of its budget.