Trump to Send Agents to Chicago and Albuquerque, Setting Up Clash

President Donald Trump said he will expand a federal law enforcement operation to Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico, setting up a potential showdown with state and local leaders.

“This bloodshed must end,” Trump said at a White House event on Wednesday. “We have no choice but to get involved.”

Trump has threatened to send agents to major U.S. cities led by Democrats that are dealing with violent crime and vandalism of federal buildings, in an appeal to his conservative base ahead of the 2020 election. He claimed that a liberal movement to defund traditional policing efforts has led to a spike in violent crime.

The push has set off a nationwide controversy over the use of federal forces in cities, oftentimes over the objection of local leaders.

Mayors across the U.S. have warned they will resist attempts by the administration to deploy federal agents in the way it did in Portland, Oregon, where officers from the Department of Homeland Security have violently clashed with protesters.

The Wednesday announcement was for a different program, led by a different agency, than what the administration is doing in Portland. Still, Trump conflated the overall situation in his remarks.

In Portland, the administration argued the agents were protecting a federal courthouse. But in other cities like Chicago and Albuquerque, Trump wants to use federal forces to stop crime more broadly, citing a spike in violent crime in Chicago. As of July 19, homicides were up 51% compared to last year, according to the police department data.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot objected to a Portland-style deployment, where the heavy-handed tactics of federal officers have raised constitutional questions.

“Under no circumstances will I allow Donald Trump’s troops to come to Chicago and terrorize our residents,” Lightfoot tweeted Tuesday. However, she said she would “welcome actual partnership.”

The Trump administration earlier this month launched “Operation Legend” in Kansas City, Missouri, in which agents from the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were ordered to help local police fight violent crime. The operation was named after LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy who was shot and killed when someone fired into his home.

Under the expansion, Justice Department agents will be sent to Chicago and Albuquerque, which are run by Democratic mayors and located in blue states.

More than a dozen mayors wrote an open letter saying the administration’s “deployment of federal forces in the streets of our communities has not been requested, nor is it acceptable.” The mayors who signed the letter, including Lightfoot, asked for a congressional investigation into the Trump administration’s use of federal agents.

It’s not immediately clear why federal agents are being deployed to Albuquerque, which, unlike Chicago, has not had a wave of violent crime. Protests in the city have been mostly peaceful. But last month, a manshot a demonstrator at a protest calling for the removal of a statue of a Spanish conquistador.

Sheriff Manuel Gonzales of Bernalillo County, New Mexico, is expected to meet with Trump on Wednesday to discuss the deployment, triggeringcalls for his resignation from Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich and condemnation from other local leaders.

“Instead of collaborating with the Albuquerque Police Department, the Sheriff is inviting the President’s stormtroopers into Albuquerque,” Heinrich said in a statement.

Source: Read Full Article