WASHINGTON, D.C. (KRON/AP) — President Donald Trump announced in a press briefing Wednesday that he is sending a “surge” of federal officers into U.S. cities to fight violent crime.
The president focused on Chicago, where he says no citizens have suffered more from the menace of violent crime than those in Chicago.
Trump announced the Department of Justice will immediately be sending federal law enforcement to Chicago. The FBI, ATF, DTA, U.S. Marshals Service and Homeland Security will be sending hundreds of “skilled” law enforcement officers to Chicago to drive down violent crime.
Using the same alarmist language that he has employed in the past to describe illegal immigration, Trump painted Democrat-led cities as out of control and lashed out at the “radical left,” even though criminal justice experts say the increase in violence in some cities defies easy explanation.
“In recent weeks there has been a radical movement to defend, dismantle and dissolve our police department,” Trump said at a White House event, blaming the movement for “a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders and heinous crimes of violence.”
“This bloodshed must end,” he said. “This bloodshed will end.”
He says at least 414 people have been murdered in the city of Chicago this year. On Tuesday, 23 people were shot in the city, including at least 15 who were shot outside of a funeral home.
Trump had a message for murderers and violent criminals: “We will find them, arrest them and prosecute them” and added “they will be in jail for many years to come.”
The decision to dispatch federal agents to American cities is playing out at a hyperpoliticized moment when Trump is trying to show that he stands with law enforcement and depict Democrats as weak on crime. With less than four months to go before Election Day, Trump has been serving up dire warnings that the violence would worsen if his Democratic rival Joe Biden is elected in November, as he tries to win over voters who could be swayed by that message.
He also talked about New York City, Philadelphia, Albuquerque and Minneapolis.
“We must remember that the job of policing a neighborhood falls on the shoulders of local elected leadership,” Trump said. “Americans must hold their city leaders accountable.”
Local authorities have also complained that deploying federal agents to their cities has only exacerbated tensions on the streets.
Hundreds of federal agents already have been sent to Kansas City, Missouri, to help quell a record rise in violence after the shooting death of a young boy there. Sending federal agents to help localities is not uncommon. Barr announced a similar surge effort in December for seven cities that had seen spiking violence.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
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