Aug 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Barr says nearly 1,500 arrested in "Operation Legend" crackdown

Attorney General William Barr speaks during an event  in the Indian Treaty Room of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House on Tuesday, Aug 04, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Attorney General Bill Barr speaks during an Aug. 4 event at the White House. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr announced at a Kansas City, Mo., news conference Wednesday almost 1,500 people have been arrested since federal law enforcement's "Operation Legend" started in U.S. cities some six weeks ago.

Why it matters: The deployment began in Kansas City in July after President Trump blamed violence spikes across the U.S. on Black Lives Matter protesters' efforts to "dismantle and dissolve" local law enforcement. It has since expanded to eight U.S. cities Democrats have accused Trump of targeting Democratic-run cities as part of his "law and order" messaging strategy.

"Rather than demonizing or defunding police, we are supporting and strengthening our law enforcement partners at the state and local level."
— Barr

Details: Barr said more than 200 of those arrested in Kansas City, Chicago, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Memphis and Indianapolis had been charged with federal crimes.

  • "That includes more than 100 charges for federal gun crimes," he said in a statement
  • "Many of those arrests are for violent state crimes, including more than 90 homicides ... That’s more than 90 suspected killers who might still be on the streets without Operation Legend, and in many cities the operation is just getting started."
  • Barr said at the news conference there had been a "lot of confusion in the media" tying the operation to federal agents in cities like Seattle and Portland, adding: "One is dealing with civil unrest, rioting, and the other is the classical traditional work that law enforcement does."

Of note: The operation has seen hundreds of federal agents sent to Kansas City to help quell violence that erupted after the shooting death of four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, for whom Operation Legend is named.

  • His mother thanked Kansas City Police investigators during the news conference for arresting a suspect last week over her son's killing.
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