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Federal agents going to Kansas City following surge in violence

Federal agents going to Kansas City following surge in violence
© Screenshot/Cspan

The Justice Department on Wednesday announced that more than 100 federal agents will be dispatched to Kansas City, Mo., in response to what Attorney General William BarrBill BarrClyburn: Biden falling short on naming Black figures to top posts Five federal inmates scheduled for execution before Inauguration Day Redeeming justice: the next attorney general MORE described as a "disturbing uptick in violence" in the metropolitan area. 

Barr said in a statement that the "Operation Legend" initiative will direct the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, Drug Enforcement Administration and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives  to "surge resources" to assist local law enforcement in Kansas City, which has reported 100 homicides this year, a 40 percent increase from 2019. 

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said during a news briefing that the initiative came in response to a letter Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas (D) sent to the Missouri governor asking for more resources to combat what he called a "crisis point."

Lucas, however, said that he was not in touch with the Justice Department about the new program and learned about it through Twitter. 

“As I understand the department’s plan, any outside help will not be used for regular policing or patrol activities—and solely to clear unsolved murders and shootings,” Lucas said in a statement to a Kansas City TV station, adding that the federal agents would provide support for homicides and non-fatal shootings. 
 
Operation Legend is named after LeGend Taliferro, a four-year-old boy who was shot and killed on June 29 while sleeping in his family's home.
 
Lucas said that the U.S. attorney in Kansas City has been in contact with Taliferro's family, "who support the investigation effort to help find the murderer of four-year-old LeGend and many other victims tragically killed this year in Kansas City." Lucas added that the investigative support could only be one tool in the city's approach to combatting crime. 
 
The move from the Justice Department comes as some cities experience an increase in violence amid escalating unrest in the nation over police killings. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) earlier this week activated some of the state's National Guard troops due to a rise in violence in Atlanta, which included a Fourth of July weekend in which gunfire caused five deaths. 
 
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) criticized the decision, saying that the city has never felt the "need for the National Guard to come in" to address the situation.