President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that he has “no choice” but to send a “surge” of federal law enforcement agents into American communities that have been afflicted by violent crime in order to “restore public safety, protect our nation’s children, and bring violent perpetrators to justice.”
The “surge” of agents into American communities is part of Operation Legend, introduced by Attorney General Bill Barr and named after LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year old black child who was tragically shot while sleeping in their Kansas City, MO apartment last month. The focus of Operation Legend is to send federal resources to increasingly violent communities, despite the city officials opposition.
In his speech at the White House, President Trump stated, “For decades, politicians running many of our nation’s major cities have put the interests of criminals above the rights of law-abiding citizens. These same politicians have now embraced the far-left movement to break up our police departments, causing violent crime in their cities to spiral — and I mean spiral seriously out of control.”
He added, “This rampage of violence shocks the conscience of our nation, and we will not stand by and watch it happen. Can’t do that. The citizens of Chicago are citizens of America, and they have the same right as every other American to live in safety, dignity, and peace. No mother should ever have to cradle her dead child in her arms simply because politicians refuse to do what is necessary to secure their neighborhood and to secure their city. Every American — no matter their income, their race, or their ZIP Code — should be able to walk their city streets free from violence and free from fear.”
He also stated that “the Department of Justice will immediately surge federal law enforcement to the city of Chicago. The FBI, ATF, DEA, U.S. Marshals Service, and Homeland Security will together be sending hundreds of skilled law enforcement officers to Chicago to help drive down violent crime.”
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler wrote a letter signed by 16 other mayors calling for the president to reverse his orders. “The president is attacking progressive cities with troops who are unwelcomes and unskilled. Militarized agents are terrorizing the American people. We must stand together for peace and reform, against these un-American tactics,” Wheeler stated.
Over the last month, President Trump has repeatedly urged local law enforcement agencies and the military to “dominate” the streets in response to the protests, rioting, and nationwide civil unrest since the death of George Floyd.
“We must remember that the job of policing a neighborhood falls on the shoulders of local elected leadership. We can never forget that. When they abdicate their duty, the results are catastrophic. Americans must hold their city leaders accountable. They must insist that community officials fully support, fully back, and fully fund their local police departments. There is simply no substitute for a police department that has the strong backing of city leaders,” said President Trump.
“In the meantime, we will use federal law enforcement to vigorously charge federal crimes and support these besieged communities to the greatest extent possible. This will be hard, painstaking work. It will take time. The tide will not recede overnight, but we will marshal all of the strength and focus and determination that we can possibly do. This is a critical effort. We will continue to call on state and local leaders to do their job and protect their citizens… but opportunity cannot thrive where there is violence. Prosperity cannot flourish where there is bloodshed. And security cannot exist where there are violent criminals who are able to maim and murder with impunity. That is what Operation LeGend is all about. That is why we are here today to answer the pleas of those crying for justice and crying for help.” President Trump stated.