Entitled New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo lashed out against the Justice Department after a report that identified New York City as one of three jurisdictions to encourage anarchist rioting suggested the cities might lose federal funding as a result.
Also making the cut were Seattle, Washington; and Portland, Oregon. The DOJ confirmed last week that it had even considered filing criminal civil-rights charges against Portland Mayor Tim Wheeler and other city officials for their lack of cooperation with federal law enforcement.
“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 in a statement.
“We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance,” he continued. “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.”
Among the criteria used to determine the cities that were promoting anarchy:
- 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- Whether a jurisdiction has withdrawn law enforcement protection from a geographical area or structure that law enforcement officers are lawfully entitled to access
- Whether a jurisdiction disempowers or defunds police departments
- Whether a jurisdiction unreasonably refuses to accept offers of law enforcement assistance from the Federal Government
Cuomo has frequently clashed with the Trump administration in defiance of federal demands while often blaming it, simultaneously, for his own policy and leadership failures.
New York already has faced a considerable budget crunch of its own doing as its wealthy citizens fled the excessive taxes and the city’s disastrous response to the coronavirus—even before rioters began occupying government property and high-trafficked areas like Times Square.
He also defiantly enacted “green light” laws that would allow illegal immigrants to receive official government IDs—raising concerns that non-citizens could use them to vote improperly in the upcoming election.
After Homeland Security authorities struck back by reducing its presence in airports—thereby throttling the number of passengers screened by the Transportation Safety Administration, Cuomo again threw a tantrum and played the victim.
In response to the DOJ’s inclusion of New York City on its list, he made clear in a lengthy rant that rather than take it as a warning sign to do a better job of supporting law and order, he would seek to weaponize the laws themselves.
Cuomo suggested he might take the fight to the courtroom to defend under the law his state’s right not to enforce the law.
The unhinged political scion insisted Trump had no authority to withhold New York City’s $7 billion in funding, although he did not appear to deny that he was allowing the country’s largest city to succumb to politically motivated anarchy.
“He doesn’t control federal funding,” complained Cuomo.
“The federal law controls federal funding, and the federal law is very specific: Jurisdiction doesn’t get affordable housing money if it does this, jurisdiction gets community development money if it does this, the jurisdiction gets Title I education funding if it does this,” he continued. “And the President is not above the law—that’s the Constitution of the United States.”
Although Cuomo claimed that courts had previously sided with sanctuary cities over the question of federal funding, those verdicts have been mixed at best.
In some situations, courts have determined that the president and his executive agencies cannot withhold money appropriated by Congress.
However, a previous ruling determined that the DOJ was entitled to withhold moneys from law-enforcement grants to cities that refused to meet the expectation of complying and cooperating with federal authorities.
The DOJ outlined the following examples of New York’s failure to comply with the law during recent riots:
- Shootings in New York City have been on the rise since looting and protests began on or about May 28, 2020. For July 2020, shootings increased from 88 to 244, an increase of 177% over July 2019. In August 2020, shootings increased from 91 to 242, a 166% increase over August 2019.
- While the city faced increased unrest, gun violence, and property damage, the New York City Council cut $1 billion from NYPD’s FY21 budget.
- The budget resulted in the cancellation of the new police recruiting class, cuts to overtime spending, and the transfer of certain police functions, including school safety, out of the NYPD.
- Meanwhile, the Manhattan and Brooklyn District Attorneys have declined to prosecute charges of disorderly conduct and unlawful assembly arising from the protests, and the District Attorneys in Queens and the Bronx have declined to prosecute other protest-related charges.
- Both Mayor de Blasio and Governor Cuomo have forcefully rejected federal law enforcement support.