In the city’s latest wave of violent crime, Chicago registered at least 10 homicides over the Labor Day weekend — including one victim identified as an 8-year-old girl.
As U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced during a recent press conference, however, a federal task force is making inroads against the consistently high level of gun violence in the city.
“The most significant threat”
Barr was in Chicago on Wednesday to tout the early success of an initiative called Operation Legend, which was launched earlier this year.
“I’m pleased to be in Chicago to address the most significant threat facing this city,” he said, as reported by the Washington Examiner. “The explosion of violent crime, particularly homicides, in Chicago earlier this year threatened not only the safety but this city’s way of life.”
The attorney general went on to explain that the “federal government responded with Operation Legend,” which he labeled “one of the most significant federal law enforcement operations in years.”
He said that “hundreds of the federal government’s best investigators, analysts, fugitive trackers, and other experts” were brought in to work with state and local authorities to “help get violent criminals off the streets” of Chicago.
“I am pleased to report that Operation Legend is working,” Barr declared. “Crime is down, and order is being restored to this great American city.”
“They were certainly invited”
The number of homicides across the city over the past seven weeks is roughly half that of the preceding seven-week period, he noted. Although Barr described a mission coordinated with local law enforcement, one reporter noted that no officers from the Chicago Police Department were present for this week’s address.
“They were certainly invited and could’ve attended, but one of the odd things about our program in this city are some of the politics involved. I’m sure that was an element of it,” Barr said. “I think you’ll have to ask the mayor and the police chief. I’m later spending time with the chief and going on a drive-around with him.”
Earlier this year, however, Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressed optimism regarding the Trump administration’s plan to deploy federal resources to the city.
“What I understand at this point, and I caveat that, is that the Trump administration is not going to foolishly deploy unnamed agents to the streets of Chicago,” she said in July. “We have information that allows us to say, at least at this point, that we don’t see a Portland-style deployment coming to Chicago.”
The ongoing federal operation is named for LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy killed in June while he slept in his Kansas City, Missouri, home.