WHAT TO KNOW TODAY
DOJ threatens to cut off federal funding from cities permitting “anarchy, violence, and destruction.” In a memo published on Monday, Attorney General William Barr listed three jurisdictions that he said had “permitted violence and destruction of property to persist”: New York City, Seattle and Portland, Oregon. Barr warned that the cities could lose out on federal funds if they don’t adjust law enforcement policies to the Trump administration’s liking. He added that other cities could be added to the list, and said efforts to defund police departments or “unreasonably” refuse federal assistance were among the criteria. Mayors of the three cities said the threat was unconstitutional. Putting the violence in context: Several American cities are seeing spikes in gun violence in 2020. But experts quickly denounced Barr’s move as political. “Things are worse than two years ago, yes, but still better than the low-crime 2010s almost across the board,” tweeted criminologist John Pfaff about the rates in New York City. “But, of course, this is about political retribution.” Separately, crime and data expert Jeff Asher pulled data from 50 cities and projected their per-capita murder rates for 2020, should current levels of violence hold. He found that New York, Portland, and Seattle don’t scratch the top 30:
San Diego gun violence restraining orders triple amid heightened suicide risk. From March 1 through the end of August, the office of City Attorney Mara Elliott sought 43 orders to remove guns for people deemed to be at a high risk of self harm; the same period in 2019 saw 16 orders. “Our GVRO trends illustrate the impact COVID is having on the mental health of San Diegans,” she said. “We urge residents to seek help if they are in crisis and to monitor the welfare of their family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors.” As The Trace reported last year, Elliott has become a national leader in aggressively using gun violence restraining orders and says the tool has been effective at preventing suicides and mass shootings.
The NRA on Merrick Garland: “Keeping him off the court was critical for gun rights.” During the annual Gun Rights Policy Conference over the weekend, Jason Ouimet — the head of the National Rifle Association’s lobbying arm — used a brief prerecorded message to emphasize the gun group’s success in seating scores of its allies on the federal bench. In a message recorded shortly before the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, he also underscored the NRA’s efforts in helping prevent a vote on President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the high court after Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in 2016. Why that could matter now. Should President Trump and his allies prevail in appointing Ginsburg’s replacement, the court’s new alignment could well mean that future pro-gun cases clear the hurdle that has prevented other gun rights petitions from receiving a ruling, as Olivia Li writes here.
Armed, Black, and fighting for racial justice. The Minnesota Freedom Fighters formed after a local NAACP chapter called on residents on Minneapolis’s North side to help protect neighborhoods in the aftermath of protests over George Floyd’s death. Members of the Freedom Fighters tell The Los Angeles Times about their work to de-escalate situations in their communities in order to avoid confrontations with the police. “Our objective is not to be the police, but the bridge to link the police and the community together,” reads the group’s mission statement.
Nebraska bar owner charged with manslaughter in shooting death of protester dies by suicide. Jake Gardner fatally shot James Scurlock in early June amid protests over police brutality this May. A county attorney initially declined to charge Gardner, saying he acted in self-defense, but a grand jury last week charged him with four felonies after a special prosecutor took up the case and argued that Gardner’s emails and text messages undermined his claims. Gardner died in Oregon over the weekend, his attorney revealed.
94 percent — how many of the 50 children shot in Florida’s Leon County over the last decade were Black. [The Tallahassee Democrat]