US President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced a plan to send federal agents to more US cities to crack down on violent crime as he emphasises a “law and order” mantra going into the November 3 presidential election.
rump, joined by Attorney General William Barr, unveiled an expansion of the “Operation Legend” programme to include cities such as Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico, in a further effort by federal officials to tackle violence.
“Today I’m announcing a surge of federal law enforcement into American communities plagued by violent crime,” said Trump.
Trump said “we have no choice but to get involved” with a rising death toll in some major cities. “This bloodshed must end, this bloodshed will end,” he said.
The programme involves deploying federal law enforcement agents to assist local police in combating what the Justice Department has described as a “surge” of violent crime.
A Justice Department official said the initiative is not related to the use of federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security to quell unrest in Portland, Oregon, where protests have taken place every night for weeks, with security forces often tear-gassing and clubbing demonstrators.
On Thursday morning the mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, was stung by tear gas after he joined demonstrators protesting against racial injustice and police brutality.
Visiting the protest site, Wheeler was jeered at by some demonstrators who called on him to resign and chanted “Shame on You”.
The deployment of federal agents in Portland on July 4 is a flashpoint in a national debate over civil liberties. Wheeler, a Democrat, called the intervention an abuse of federal power and said it was escalating the violence. Wednesday saw bigger and bigger crowds of supporters joining the demonstrations.