Federal agents will be sent to Cleveland as part of “Operation Legend.” The operation, named after four-year-old Legend Taliferro who was killed in Kansas City, was created to help combat the uptick in violence in the wake of the George Floyd Protests. Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams stressed that there will not be “Federal Troops” in the city.
The Operation, which has been described by the Department of Justice as “a sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative in which federal law enforcement agencies work in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight violent crime” will see hundreds of law enforcement agents sent across the country – more than two dozen of which will be sent to Cleveland.
Justin Herdman, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio made a statement on the reassigned agents. “There are additional resources that are being provided to federal, state and local law enforcement to assist in traditional crime fighting that will be directed at gang violence, narcotics-related shootings and illegal firearms.” Herdman was quick to emphasize that the initiative was different from similar programs in Portland where federal agents were deployed to deal with rioters. “What it is not: it is not an introduction of federal riot police; it is not an introduction of federal uniformed personnel; it is not an introduction of federal agents to protect federal property.”
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams echoed the sentiment empathically at a separate press conference stating “There are no federal troops coming to the City of Cleveland.”
Herdman explained the need for the added resources citing recent violent crime statistics. “As of the latest data, Cleveland’s homicides are up over 13 percent from where they were in 2019. Even more alarming, our city’s felonious assaults by a firearm are up over 35 percent from where they were a year ago.”
The move comes shortly after the city had been given almost 8 million dollars to hire new police officers by the federal government.
Operation Legend has been expanded from its original target, Kansas City, as major cities continue to struggle with violent crime in the wake of the George Floyd Protests, and amid the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus. Other cities that have been selected as part of the program are Detroit, Milwaukee, and Albuquerque.
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