The Trump administration is sending additional federal agents and funding to Cleveland, Milwaukee and Detroit, expanding a program that has targeted Democratic-run cities facing increases in violent crime.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the deployment of dozens of federal officers to the three cities to assist local law enforcement as part of Operation Legend. The administration has already sent agents to Kansas City, Mo., and Chicago as part of the program as Democratic leaders express reluctance about the government's intentions amid clashes involving the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Portland, Ore.
"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 that are experiencing upticks in violent crime," Attorney General William BarrBill BarrClinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation Milley moved to limit Trump military strike abilities after Jan. 6, Woodward book claims: report MORE said in a statement. "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 DOJ is sending more than 25 federal investigators from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to Cleveland to assist state and local law enforcement focused on gang activity, gun violence and drug trafficking. The city's police department will also receive $10 million to fund the hiring of additional officers.
Roughly 40 agents from the same agencies are being dispatched to Detroit to assist the city's police department, including 11 new permanent ATF agents who will focus on violent crime. The city will also receive $2.4 million to hire new officers.
The DOJ will send another 25 agents to Milwaukee, which is set to host the Democratic National Convention next month, to combat violent crime. The federal government is providing $10.2 million to fund the hiring of officers in the Milwaukee, Wauwatosa and Cudahy police departments.
The department cited increases in violent crime in each of the cities, noting homicides and shootings are up in all three places compared to 2019.
President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE last week announced similar deployments of federal agents to Chicago and Albuquerque as part of Operation Legend, which is named for a young victim of gun violence in Kansas City. The administration has repeatedly invoked the program to argue Trump is imposing law and order.
But the operation has solely targeted Democratic-run cities thus far, and Trump has repeatedly blamed local leaders for the rise in violent crime. He has simultaneously warned that the problems would worsen if presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant Did President Biden institute a vaccine mandate for only half the nation's teachers? Democrats lean into vaccine mandates ahead of midterms MORE were elected, even as the unrest is taking place under Trump's watch.
Some Democratic leaders have been reluctant to accept help from the Trump administration, citing concerns over the federal government's involvement in Portland. DHS dispatched Border Patrol and other agents to the city to guard a federal courthouse, but demonstrators have reported that unidentified agents have detained protesters and clashes have devolved into violence at times.
Trump on Wednesday morning vowed that the federal presence would remain in Portland "until they've secured their city."
The Associated Press reported that the administration is in talks with state and local leaders about drawing down the federal presence to deescalate the situation.