President Donald Trump announced in a Wednesday, July 22 afternoon press conference that the U.S. Justice Department would "immediately" deploy hundreds of federal law enforcement officers to Chicago as part of a federal anti-violence initiative.
The measure is an expansion of Operation Legend, a U.S. Department of Justice plan combining the efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to target violent crime. The operation, which involves federal agents from the FBI, DEA, ATF and U.S. Marshals Service, is named after LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy who was shot and killed in Kansas City in late June.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has previously expressed opposition to sending federal agents to the city, stating on Twitter on July 21, "Under no circumstances will I allow Donald Trump’s troops to come to Chicago and terrorize our residents."
"We will work with local police to identify violations of state and local laws to ensure that offenders are caught and jailed for their crimes," Trump said during Wednesday's press conference. "But we must remember that the job of policing a neighborhood falls on the shoulders of local elected leadership."
U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr said the federal government has deployed more than 200 federal agents to Kansas City to date and is directing a "comparable number" to Chicago, in addition to sending 35 agents to Albuquerque. Additional financial assistance will be provided to state and local law enforcement agencies to permit them to fund more officers and task force members, he said.
"Our announcement today is a demonstration to our commitment to the men and women who serve as police officers in Chicago, Albuquerque and Kansas City," Barr said. "Your efforts to protect these communities are not forgotten."