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Trump’s federal ‘surge’ against violent crime in cities

Andrew McCarthy of National Review Online assesses President Trump’s plan to deploy federal law enforcement agents in troubled cities.

… [T]here was no need to re-create the wheel here. There is abundant law that gives federal agencies jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute violent crime. Just as significantly, the federal government (the U.S. attorneys’ offices, the FBI, DEA, other federal agencies, and the U.S. courts) not only has a longstanding presence in our nation’s biggest cities. For decades, we’ve also had federal-state task forces, which are joint investigative efforts involving the police and prosecution agencies of the federal, state, and municipal governments. …

The president, with elaboration from Attorney General Bill Barr, explained that the new effort is called “Operation Legend,” in honor of LeGend Taliferro, a four-year-old boy who was senselessly shot to death in his sleep last month … in Kansas City.

Barr detailed that Operation Legend had already commenced with a ramp-up of federal agents in Kansas City, where 200 arrests were made in a two-week period. The initiative is now being expanded to two other cities with soaring crime, Chicago and Albuquerque. Amid a litany of bloody statistics, Trump noted that 23 people were shot in Chicago just yesterday — 15 of them at a funeral home, where respects were being paid to a man who’d been killed in an earlier drive-by shooting.

Given the demagogic media commentary portraying federal law-enforcement agents in Portland as “stormtroopers” and “militia,” administration officials are understandably stressing that the new initiative is simply an augmentation of existing federal-state collaborations. As Barr put it, these are “standard anti-crime activities we have been carrying on for decades.” …

… While stressing that the federal government intended to what it could to reverse the alarming rise in crime that followed George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis and the subsequent demonization of police, Trump and Barr emphasized that local elected political leadership is primarily responsible for keeping law and order.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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