Trump Uses E.P.A. Office to Widen ‘Anarchist’ War vs. New York


The Justice Department, in trying to bolster its case that New York is an anarchist jurisdiction, said little about actual anarchists, instead focusing on criminal justice concerns: the city’s rise in shootings, the property damage sustained during protests, Mr. de Blasio’s decision to cut some funding for the Police Department, the department’s decision to disband plainclothes anti-crime units, and a decline in local arrests.

That dire depiction of New York leaves out some important context.

So far this year, shootings in the city have indeed nearly doubled, to 1,095 from 567 as of last week. But they are down slightly from a decade ago and are more than 70 percent lower than in 1993, police statistics show. Reports of major crimes are also down overall from last year and have decreased by more than 10 percent since a decade ago.

And unlike Portland or Seattle, New York has seen only one instance of significant property damage since the first few days of June, when bands of looters ransacked stores in Soho and Midtown Manhattan. At the time, police officials blamed the violence on anarchists and other “outside agitators,” but ultimately backed away from that position, saying that “opportunistic” local criminals were responsible.

The Trump administration’s unflattering description of New York did, however, find favor with its police unions, who have allied themselves with the president and echoed his rhetoric.

“There’s no law and order at all,” said Edward Mullins, the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association. “It’s total anarchy what’s occurring in the city. People are leaving, businesses are closed and the mayor chooses to do nothing.”

Any defunding of the city would likely mean less money for the Police Department, which also receives money from the federal government.

But Mr. Mullins was unconcerned, suggesting that the president is using this threat as a lever to pressure the mayor, and will follow through only if he needs to.

“You got to remember, he’s got a lot of business here, his family’s here, and to defund the police, deep down inside he’s a law and order guy, he always was,” Mr. Mullins said.


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