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AG labeling Seattle an ‘anarchist’ city is ‘abhorrent,’ ‘blatantly unlawful’ say city leaders

Seattle protesters at a demonstration in July. (Getty Images)

Local leaders are speaking out in the wake of U.S. Attorney General William Barr including Seattle on a list of so-called “anarchist jurisdictions.”

Local leaders react to Trump memo calling Seattle an ‘anarchist jurisdiction’

Seattle was included on Barr’s list alongside Portland and New York City, with the stated intent to redirect federal funds away from cities “permitting anarchy, violence, and destruction.” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan responded to the move Monday, calling it “a gross misuse of federal power and blatantly unlawful.”

“Trump, the Department of Justice, and Barr’s obsession with Seattle and me is irrational and most importantly, a huge distraction,” Durkan said.

Also weighing in was King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, who issued the following statement:

This allegation suggests that laws are not being enforced in King County, which could not be further from the truth. The deputy prosecutors in our office are working hard in the pursuit of justice and are addressing a record numbers of cases from around the county. This official DOJ designation seems more of a political statement than a factual one, and we were never contacted by them for any actual data.

We continue to work well with our partners at both the federal and municipal level. I have for more than three decades worked with our local U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington. Many of the Assistant United States Attorneys there started their careers in the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office – they are smart, dedicated, independent prosecutors. It is essential for public trust that our work not be swayed by political rhetoric, but grounded in facts and in the pursuit of justice. We are proud of the work we do in our office every single day as we strive toward a fair, equitable and safe county for all.

Satterberg went on to note that counter to the idea that Seattle is operating as an “anarchist” city, his office has filed 20 felonies related to protests, “including shootings, gun cases, assaults, burglary cases, cases involving two deaths, and an arson at the Seattle Police East Precinct.”

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Seattle Councilmember Teresa Mosqueda — who chairs the council’s budget committee — spoke out against the move as well, labeling it “abhorrent” and “inhumane,” and stating that the council “wholeheartedly rejects this.”

“We will continue to push back and make sure that our city gets the funding that it needs,” Mosqueda vowed.

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Monday that his office is “reviewing the legality and implications of this action by the Trump Administration.” Ferguson has frequently taken the president to court, and is currently presiding over a multi-state lawsuit to roll back recent changes to the USPS made by Trump-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.

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