During a speech today at the White House, the President made the announcement that the Department of Justice will send Federal Law Enforcement to Chicago to help combat the increase in crime through the Operation LeGend initiative which is named after four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed while he slept early on the morning of June 29 in Kansas City. On Tuesday, a 3-year-old girl was shot in the head while riding in her family's car in Chicago's South Shore neighborhood. There was also a brutal mass shooting at a funeral that left 15 people wounded. Policing the neighborhoods of Chicago will still be the responsibility of the local police departments. Those in attendance were Attorney General William Barr, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolfe, and FBI Director Christopher Wray. Also in attendance were several families of the victims of the violence that has plagued our country including LeGend's mother, Charron Powell.
The President made the following remarks, in part, "My first duty as President is to protect the American people and today I'm taking action to fulfill that sacred obligation. In recent weeks, there's been a radical movement to defund, dismantle, and dissolve our police departments. Extreme politicians have joined this anti-police crusade and relentlessly vilified our law enforcement heroes. To look at from any standpoint the effort to shut down policing in their own communities has led to a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders, and heinous crimes of violence. This bloodshed must end, this bloodshed will end".
"Today I'm announcing a surge of law enforcement [will be sent] into American communities plagued by violent crime. We will work every single day to restore public safety to protect our nation's children and bring violent perpetrators to justice". He added, "We have no choice but to get involved. The Department of Justice will immediately surge federal law enforcement to the city of Chicago. The FBI, ATF, DEA, US Marshal Service, and Homeland Security will together be sending hundreds of skilled law enforcement officers to Chicago. But we must remember the job of policing a neighborhood falls on the shoulders of local elected leadership. Never forget that. When they abdicate their duty the results are catastrophic".
"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. In New York City, over 300 people were shot in the last month alone, a 277% (at least) increase over the same period of a year ago. Murders this year has spiked over 27% in Philadelphia and 94% in Minneapolis compared to the same period in 2019. Perhaps, no citizens have suffered more from the menace of violent crime than the wonderful people of Chicago. At least 414 people have been murdered in the city this year a roughly 50% increase over last year. More than 1,009 people have been shot".
Attorney General William Barr took to the podium and made the following statement, “The most basic responsibility of government is to protect the safety of our citizens. Today, we have extended Operation Legend to Chicago and Albuquerque to protect the residents of those cities from senseless acts of deadly violence by targeting those involved in gang activity and those who use guns to commit violent crime. For decades, the Department of Justice has achieved significant success when utilizing our anti-violent crime task forces and federal law enforcement agents to enforce federal law and assist American cities which are experiencing upticks in violent crime. The Department of Justice’s assets will supplement local law enforcement efforts, as we work together to take the shooters and chronic violent criminals off of our streets”.
The statement by the Department of Justice reads in part, "As part of Operation Legend, Attorney General Barr directed the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, DEA, and ATF to significantly increase resources into Chicago and Albuquerque in the coming weeks to help state and local officials fight high levels of violent crime, particularly gun violence. Chicago is currently experiencing a significant increase in violent crime, with homicides currently up 51 percent over 2019. Over the weekend of July 17, more than 60 people were shot in the city of Chicago, with 14 fatalities. Similarly, Albuquerque is currently on pace to break 2019’s record for homicides in the city. On the weekend of July 10, there were four murders in Albuquerque within a 24-hour period".
"To further support the Chicago Police Department in reducing violent crime, ATF has deployed its national Crime Gun Intelligence Mobile Command Vehicle to assist local law enforcement with analysis of crime scenes and spent shell casings through the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network (NIBIN). ATF will also make available additional resources to assist the City of Chicago in providing timely, efficient analysis of ballistic evidence from shootings in order to quickly disrupt violent criminals and prosecute those prohibited from possessing firearms under federal law," the statement continued.
Chicago's Mayor Lori Lightfoot who recently stated on Twitter, "Under no circumstances will I allow Donald Trump’s troops to come to Chicago and terrorize our residents" said today that she and other local officials had spoken with federal authorities and come to an understanding. “I’ve been very clear that we welcome actual partnership,” she said after speaking with federal officials. “But we do not welcome dictatorship. We do not welcome authoritarianism, and we do not welcome unconstitutional arrest and detainment of our residents. That is something I will not tolerate.”
Hundreds of federal agents have already been sent to Kansas City, Missouri. In addition to providing law enforcement agents, the DOJ is also providing financial assistance to the state and local agencies to permit them to provide more cops and members of the task force. Since the FBI arrived in Kansas City, there have been over 200 arrests in two weeks. Sending federal agents to help local communities is something that is common and has been done for decades in this country to help quell surges in violence and to assist local and state law enforcement.