Travel Act & Bill Barr -- A Few Observations

President Donald Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr arrive back in Washington aboard Air Force One after a trip to Kenosha, Wis., after landing at Joint Base Andrews, Md., September 1, 2020. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

The Justice Department will label New York City an “anarchist jurisdiction” along with Seattle, Wash., and Portland, Ore., threatening the federal funding of those cities, the New York Post reported on Monday.

The designation comes after President Trump signed a memo in early September ordering federal agencies to evaluate ways to redirect funds away from cities that have “permitted violence and the destruction of property” in the summer’s mass demonstrations and riots. In particular, the memo ordered federal agencies to target cities that moved to slash police budgets.

Demonstrations and calls to “defund” police departments came after the death of George Floyd, an African American man killed during his arrest by officers in Minneapolis, Minn. New York cut roughly $1 billion from the NYPD budget in July, although roughly $349.5‬ million of those cuts were achieved by transferring some police services to other agencies. The city receives about $7 billion in various federal funds, and it is unclear to what extent those funds would be cut.

“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 writes in a statement, obtained by the Post, to be released on Monday. “We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance.”

Barr goes on, “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.”

Portland has seen nightly demonstrations since Floyd’s death, many of which have devolved into riots and attacks on local and federal police officers. Seattle saw demonstrators establish an “autonomous zone” throughout the month of June, which was disbanded after multiple shooting deaths occurred in or near the zone.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

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