WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department on Monday threatened to revoke federal funding for New York City, Seattle and Portland, Oregon, saying the three liberal cities were allowing anarchy and violence on their streets.
“We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement.
Spokespeople for the mayors’ offices in all three cities could not be immediately reached for comment.
Many cities across the United States have experienced unrest since the May death of George Floyd. In some cases the protests have escalated into violence and looting.
The federal government has mounted a campaign to disperse the racial justice protests, including by sending federal agents into Portland and Seattle and encouraging federal prosecutors to bring charges.
Last week, the Justice Department urged federal prosecutors to consider sedition charges against protesters who have burned buildings and engaged in other violent activity.
Monday’s threat to revoke federal funds was the government’s latest escalation in its quest to curb the protests.