New Bill Would Make State, Local Governments Accountable For ‘Autonomous Zone’ Crimes
A new federal bill introduced by Republican Congressmen Chip Roy and Ted Budd would let crime victims in “autonomous zones” such as the one set up in Seattle sue state or local governments for damages.
The Justice for Victims of Lawless Cities Act would enable murder, rape, or other felony victims (or their families, if a victim has died or is otherwise incapable of bringing suit) to recover damages from the governments that abandoned them to the jurisdiction of lawless anarchists. Additionally, anyone whose business was harmed “within a lawless autonomous zone” may bring suit against the government.
“This bill would be a strong incentive to local jurisdictions to break up any remaining lawless zones or prevent one from being established in the first place,” said Rep. Budd (R-N.C.).
The bill comes after multiple shootings in Seattle’s infamous “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone/Occupied Protest” left two African-American teenagers dead and another in critical condition. Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkin allowed the autonomous zone to continue for weeks, calling it a “block party” and a “summer of love,” as protesters barred police from the area. Meanwhile, Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best reported additional “assaults, rape, robbery, [and] shootings” after police left the precinct.
Protesters in Washington, D.C. also attempted to set up a “Black House Autonomous Zone” in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church near the White House. President Trump responded by tweeting that “There will never be an ‘Autonomous Zone’ in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President. If they try they will be met with serious force!” Twitter promptly flagged the tweet for violating rules about “abusive behavior.”
There will never be an “Autonomous Zone” in Washington, D.C., as long as I’m your President. If they try they will be met with serious force!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2020
The damage to life and property not just been limited to “autonomous zones.” In the first weekend of rioting, 20 major cities saw over $400 million in damage from looting. As cities like Minneapolis, New York, and Chicago restrain (or entirely eliminate) their police departments, violence and shootings have only increased.
“The United States is a nation of laws,” Roy said. “Any state or city that takes federal funds and fails to enforce the laws should both lose those funds and be liable for the harm they have allowed to occur.”
Elle Reynolds is an intern at the Federalist, and a senior at Patrick Henry College studying government and journalism. You can follow her work on Twitter at @_etreynolds.