DETROIT – President Donald Trump announced he plans to send federal agents to Detroit as part of an initiative to “quell recent violence” in cities across the country.
Trump announced the expansion of “Operation Legend” on Thursday by sending more than 200 federal law enforcement officers into Kansas City.
According to the White House, the move is designed to “help curb the kind of senseless violence” that led to the death of 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro.
LeGend was shot and killed in his bed June 29 when a gunman opened fire on his apartment complex. Trump said Operation Legend is named after the boy.
“My first duty as President is to protect the American people, and today I am taking action to fulfill that sacred obligation,” Trump said.
The operation will also expand into Chicago and Albuquerque, officials said.
Over the next three weeks, the Justice Department plans to expand the operation into Detroit, Cleveland and Milwaukee, the White House announced.
The Justice Department will provide more than $61 million to hire hundreds of new police officers, officials said. About 200 federal agents and deputy marshals will be permanently reassigned to the involved cities, Trump said.
“We will never defund the police,” Trump said. “We will hire more great police. We want to make law enforcement stronger, not weaker. What cities are doing is absolute insanity.”
Duggan: Detroit doesn’t need Homeland Security, but would welcome federal help
“Early on we made the decision the bond between the Detroit Police Department and the community was strong enough we could handle the protests ourselves,” Duggan said.
Detroit has had several nights of protests with no burning or looting in the city. What the city has seen though, is an uptick in shootings over the past several days.
“I was talking to my fellow mayors across America about, there’s something about what’s been going on in the protests across the country that have emboldened people with guns in a lot of cities,” Duggan said.
Duggan said he’s been given no indication from the federal government that Homeland Security personnel are heading to Detroit.
What would be a help, according to the mayor, are federal prosecutors to assist in prosecuting gun crimes and more ATF agents to help Detroit police tackle illegal guns.
Whitmer, Nessel respond
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Attorney General Dana Nessel issued statements Thursday after Trump’s announcement.
“It is deeply disturbing that President Trump is once again choosing to spread hateful rhetoric and attempting to suppress the voices of those he doesn’t agree with,” Whitmer said. “Quite frankly, the president doesn’t know the first thing about Detroit. If he did, he would know that for nearly two months now, Detroiters have gathered to peacefully protest the systemic racism and discrimination that Black Americans face every day. There is no reason for the president to send federal troops into a city where people are demanding change peacefully and respectfully. If the president actually wants to help the people of Michigan, he can start by picking up the phone and telling Mitch McConnell to pass the HEROES Act, so we can provide immediate relief to Michigan’s families, schools, and small businesses.”
“President Trump’s politically motivated threat to send ‘more federal law enforcement’ to Detroit, among other cities, has nothing to do with protecting public health or safety. It is about using the power of his office as a cudgel to punish those who use their constitutionally guaranteed rights to express views he disagrees with. Such threats undermine peace and stability in our communities by unnecessarily escalating tensions and encroaching on states’ rights,” Nessel said. “We are a nation of laws, and the President’s attempts to intimidate our communities with threats of violence could not be more un-American.”