DOJ officially names Seattle as 1 of 3 cities permitting violence, destruction

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Justice on Monday officially identified Seattle, New York and Portland, Ore. as cities that have allowed violence and destruction of property to persist and “have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities.”

The list was published on the DOJ’s website in response to President Donald Trump’s five-page memo titled “Memorandum on reviewing funding to state and local government recipients that are permitting anarchy, violence, and destruction in American cities.”

It was signed Sept. 2 and orders all federal agencies to send reports to the White House that detail funds that can be redirected elsewhere.

DOJ said it’s continuing to work to identify jurisdictions that meet the criteria set out in the memo.

The criteria for evaluating each city is:

  • Whether a jurisdiction forbids the police force from intervening to restore order amid widespread or sustained violence or destruction.
  • Whether a jurisdiction has withdrawn law enforcement protection from a geographical area or structure that law enforcement officers are lawfully entitled to access but have been officially prevented from accessing or permitted to access only in exceptional circumstances, except when law enforcement officers are briefly withheld as a tactical decision intended to resolve safely and expeditiously a specific and ongoing unlawful incident posing an imminent threat to the safety of individuals or law enforcement officers.
  • Whether a jurisdiction disempowers or defunds police departments.
  • Whether a jurisdiction unreasonably refuses to accept offers of law enforcement assistance from the federal government.
  • Any other related factors the Attorney General deems appropriate.

For Seattle, the DOJ listed the following:

  • For nearly a month, starting in June, the City of Seattle permitted anarchists and activists to seize six square blocks of the city’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, naming their new enclave the “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” (CHAZ) and then the “Capitol Hill Occupied Protest” (CHOP).
  • Law enforcement and firefighters were precluded from entering the territory. The Seattle Police Department was ordered to abandon their precinct within the CHOP.
  • Person-related crime in the CHOP increased 525% from the same period of time in the same area the year before, including by Mayor Durkan’s own count “two additional homicides, 6 additional robberies, and 16 additional aggravated assaults (to include 2 additional nonfatal shootings).”
  • The CHOP was allowed to stand for nearly a month, during which time two teenagers were shot and killed in the zone.
  • The Seattle City Council, Mayor Durkan, and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee publicly rejected federal involvement in law enforcement activities within the city of Seattle.

“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.”

Read what the DOJ news release says about New York and Portland here.

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