President Donald Trump called Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Wednesday evening to confirm his plans to send 200 federal agents to the city to combat “a rampage of violence.”
In a statement obtained by The Chicago Sun-Times, the mayor’s office said Trump “reached out to Mayor Lightfoot this evening to confirm that he plans to send federal resources to Chicago to supplement ongoing federal investigations pertaining to violent crime.”
“The conversation was brief and straightforward,” the statement said.
Lightfoot, who previously vowed to turn away the feds, and Trump — who blasted “extreme politicians” he accused of joining an “anti-police crusade” — are in agreement over the strategy of sending in agents to plug into existing operations, the paper reported.
“Mayor Lightfoot maintains that all resources will be investigatory in nature and be coordinated through the U.S. Attorney’s office,” the statement said. “The Mayor has made clear that if there is any deviation from what has been announced, we will pursue all available legal options to protect Chicagoans.”
Trump is deploying officers to Chicago and also to Albuquerque, New Mexico, as part of the national Operation Legend anti-violence initiative, which is named for LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old shot dead in Kansas City.
Earlier this month, federal officers were sent to Portland, Oregon, to protect a federal courthouse from rioters, and to Kansas City to quell violence as part of Operation Legend.
The efforts in Chicago, however, would not resemble the heavily criticized presence in Portland, where camouflaged federal agents have patrolled streets and made arrests in an attempt to protect federal buildings, according to the Sun-Times.
The agents would collaborate with Chicago police and Lightfoot’s office under the direction of U.S. Attorney John Lausch, who Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor, knows and trusts, the paper reported.
“This is not patrol. This is not against civil unrest,” Lausch told the outlet ahead of Trump’s announcement. “This is working with the Chicago Police Department to do what we can to reduce the staggering violent crime we’re facing right now.”
The federal teams will focus on “gangs, guns and drugs,” he said.
They may wear tactical gear or work undercover, but will not be dressed in camouflage, Lausch added.
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