July 24, 2020 at 8:32 AM EDT
Trump’s ‘Operation Legend’ was supposed to combat crime. It’s produced one arrest, and some see a political stunt.
Federal agents began descending in earnest on Kansas City, Mo., this week as part of an operation that will have them working with local detectives to interview suspects and witnesses and sift through evidence in an effort to quell violent crime, U.S. officials said.
The operation, in any other administration, might have been largely seen as inoffensive for a city that has experienced a massive spike in homicides from the prior year. But the timing — just after federal officers in military garb violently cracked down on racial justice demonstrators in Portland, Ore., and President Trump threatened to dispatch U.S. law enforcement to other cities — could hardly be worse.
In no small part because of Trump’s politically charged rhetoric, local activists and officials have come to view with suspicion the more than 200 agents sent to Missouri from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Marshals Service and other federal agencies.
Some officials said they were not consulted and do not know the precise plans. After the Trump administration announced Wednesday it would increase federal presence in Chicago and Albuquerque, local officials there greeted the news icily.
By Matt Zapotosky and Annie Gowen