After a tense congressional hearing where Democrats excoriated the US Attorney General for deploying federal agents to cities like Portland, Bill Barr announced an expansion of a program to tackle rising violent crime in the US.
The FBI, US Marshals Service, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have all been directed to “significantly increase resources” in Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee – three cities newly added as part of an expansion of Operation Legend, which launched on July 8.
Operation Legend – named after four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was killed last month in Kansas City – is an initiative meant to combat rising crime by deploying federal agencies to work hand-in-hand with local law enforcement.
Already part of this program are the cities of Kansas City (Missouri), Albuquerque (New Mexico), and Chicago (Illinois).
“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,” Barr said, in a statement on the expansion. He says the three additional cities have seen a “disturbing uptick” in violent crime, especially homicides.
Homicide rates in Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee climbed 13, 31, and 85 percent respectively this year, while shootings are up 35, 53, and 64 percent in those cities. Federal funds will also be made available to each location as part of the operation.
After deploying federal agents to Portland, Oregon, following Black Lives Matter protesters’ attempts to burn down a federal courthouse, Barr quickly found himself a target of Democrat lawmakers, who argue federal agents should not be involved in local matters.
The expansion of Operation Legend makes no mention of the ongoing protests across the country nor does it tie protests to any uptick in crime, but the announcement of the additional agent deployments comes less than a day after Barr’s tense congressional hearing, in which he clashed with several Democrat members of Congress over his use of federal resources.
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