Aug 6, 2020 - Politics & Policy

DOJ to send federal agents to St. Louis and Memphis

Attorney General Bill Barr speaks into a microphone at a roundtable
Attorney General Bill Barr. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

The Justice Department announced Thursday that it will send federal law enforcement agents to St. Louis, Mo., and Memphis, Tenn., to help stem violent crime.

Why it matters: The Trump administration's deployment expands its "Operation Legend" program as President Trump has blamed spikes of violence across the U.S. on activists' efforts to "dismantle and dissolve" local law enforcement. Democrats have accused Trump of targeting Democratic-run cities as part of his "law and order" messaging strategy following the police killing of George Floyd.

The state of play: Federal officers were sent to Kansas City, Mo., Chicago, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee starting in early July.

  • The DOJ said Memphis has seen homicides increase by over 49%, as rates in St. Louis soared 34%.
  • Attorney General Bill Barr said in a statement that federal agents were sent to the two cities to work alongside local law enforcement and “take the shooters and chronic violent criminals off of our streets.”

Go deeper: House Democrats call for IG probe into use of federal agents in Portland

Go deeper