It would seem fairly obvious that attacking the people in your own country is no way to win a presidential election. Of course, for Donald Trump’s hard-core supporters, they’re fine with federal police agents attacking protesters as long as the protesters aren’t them and the issues being protested aren’t around guns or abortion. But for the majority of the country, which is making a massive difference in Trump’s poll numbers, the idea of militarized agents being sent in to major cities to wreak havoc just isn’t appealing.
NEW: The DOJ plans to divide nearly 100 federal agents between Cleveland, Detroit and Milwaukee in an expansion of "Operation Legend," launched last month to fight a "surge of violent crime" in U.S. cities.https://t.co/pLYtY72ei6
— Axios (@axios) July 29, 2020
In a statement issued by the Department of Justice, William Barr announced that Operation Legend, which he called “a sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative in which federal law enforcement agencies work in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight violent crime.” would be implemented in Detroit, Michigan, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Cleveland, Ohio. The statement said that:
‘The most basic responsibility of government is to protect the safety of our citizens. Today, we have extended Operation Legend to Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee, three cities that have seen disturbing increases in violent crime, particularly homicides. For decades, the Department of Justice has achieved significant success when utilizing our anti-violent crime task forces and federal law enforcement agents to enforce federal law and assist American cities that are experiencing upticks in violent crime. The Department of Justice’s assets will supplement local law enforcement efforts, as we work together to take the shooters and chronic violent criminals off of our streets.’
BREAKING: The Trump administration is sending federal agents to Cleveland, Milwaukee and Detroit.
Officials say they will not target protesters but are part of its so-called "Operation Legend" to tackle violent crime, already implemented in Chicago, Albuquerque and Kansas City. pic.twitter.com/DjglfkyL8Y
— AJ+ (@ajplus) July 29, 2020
Of course, the statement leaves out the fact that the mayor of Portland, Oregon and other cities where federal agents are being sent to infiltrate the streets have asked that the agents not be sent to their cities. Even though some violence has broken out during protests, the vast majority of the protests are peaceful and within constitutional rights. A diplomatic response could lead to positive change, but a show of aggression is only likely to inflame tensions and make the protests go on far longer than they would have. Trump, however, needs a show of force for his supporters come November, so the plan will move forward into more and more cities.
After getting tear gassed last night in Portland, a member of the protest's new "Wall of Vets" said the gas was so strong it was leaving burns on his skin.
He said it felt worse than the tear gas he recalled from his time in the Army.https://t.co/bXRTIQUPvj
— Mike Baker (@ByMikeBaker) July 25, 2020
The biggest concern over these “operations” that involve sending in federal forces is that peaceful protesters will be harmed along with those taking advantage of the moment to cause violence. This has been evidenced repeatedly in Portland as women who formed a “wall of moms” to protect protesters were gassed, as well as a “wall of vets,” the Portland mayor, two veterans who attempted to approach police, and others far from federal buildings who were not, at the time of their arrests, causing any harm. This move is unlikely to make the situation better and, instead, will only serve to make things worse.
WATCH: Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and protesters were tear-gassed by federal officers at a fence guarding a downtown courthouse https://t.co/D3KlV694xv pic.twitter.com/esI3K9Cfku
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 23, 2020
Featured image screenshot via YouTube