Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday that a controversial Trump administration initiative had netted nearly 1,500 arrests with federal agents' assistance in nine U.S. cities.
Speaking from Kansas City, Barr claimed that "Operation Legend" has been successful in combatting rising rates of violent crime across the country.
Operation Legend — named in memory of 4-year-old LeGend Taliferrom, who was shot to death in Kansas City earlier this year — was launched in the city in early July. Officials with the Kansas City police department say the murder rate in the city has dropped in the month since federal agents arrived.
Among those arrested in connection with the program was a suspect charged with LeGend's murder. The boy's mother attended Wednesday's press conference and thanked Barr for his assistance in LeGend's case.
Since its launch in Kansas City, Operation Legend has spread to Chicago, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Memphis and Indianapolis.
However, the initiative remains controversial with local leaders. In late July, the mayors of 13 large cities penned an open letter to Barr, Acting Homeland Security Sec. Chad Wolfe and other Trump administration officials, saying they did not wish for federal agents to patrol their streets.
Earlier this year, the Trump administration sent federal agents to Portland, Oregon, in an attempt to quell months-long protests in the city. The arrival of federal agents caused tensions between protesters and federal agents to rise, resulting in several clashes.
Last month, Barr claimed that Operation Legend had resulted in the arrests of 200 violent criminals within two weeks. According to the Kansas City Star, Barr was, in fact, citing arrest figures that dated back to December 2019, and included joint arrests between state officials and the FBI.