International

Strengthening Federal Forces in Chicago to Reduce Crime

(Washington) US President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced to reinforce the number of federal agents in Chicago, after a resurgence of violence in the third largest city in the United States and despite opposition from the Democratic mayor of the metropolis .

Inès BEL AIBA

France Media Agency

Much criticized for his management of the coronavirus pandemic just over three months before the presidential election, the Republican billionaire, candidate for his re-election, is campaigning in particular on the return to “order”.

And faced with increasing crime this summer in major cities across the country, such as New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Atlanta or Baltimore, he castigates the Democratic leaders of several cities by accusing them of laxity.

“I am announcing a sharp increase in federal law enforcement in populations affected by violent crime,” he said from the White House.

The US Department of Justice will “immediately increase the number of federal police officers in the city of Chicago,” he added.

Present alongside the president, Bill Barr, the Secretary of Justice, said the operation would involve Chicago, Kansas City and Albuquerque.

Approximately 200 agents will be dispatched to Chicago, 30 to Albuquerque (New -Mexico), and 200 are already in Kansas City, Missouri, he said.

“The operation was first launched on July 8 in Kansas City, as a result of President Trump's promise to help American cities recently affected by violence,” according to a statement from the Secretary of Justice.

According to Barr, federal agents will work “hand in hand” with police and should not be confused with federal law enforcement involved in riot response.

” Never ”

The president, preceded in the latest polls by his Democratic rival Joe Biden, had threatened to send federal agents to New York and Chicago as in other Democratic strongholds, to protect federal buildings and, more generally, ” restore order “.

About fifteen people were injured again Tuesday in a shooting during a funeral in Chicago, where violence is endemic in some neighborhoods.

In reaction to the president's remarks, the Democratic mayors of Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Atlanta, Kansas City and the federal capital Washington sent a letter to the Secretary of Justice to oppose the “unilateral deployment” of forces federal authorities in their cities.

Returning to the dispatch in recent days of federal police to Portland, Oregon – where officers, in camouflage uniform and without identification badges, made disputed arrests – the mayors estimated that their interventions had contributed to an “escalation” of tensions, and compared the method to “tactics used by authoritarian regimes”.

“Under no circumstances will I let Donald Trump's soldiers come to Chicago and terrorize our residents,” tweeted Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

The mayor of New York, Bill De Blasio, repeated that his city would sue the federal government if federal agents were deployed in the American economic capital.

On Wednesday, Mr. Trump said he wanted to “make the police stronger, not weaker”, and felt that more police officers should be hired, not their budgets reduced.

He was referring to the calls to “cut funds to the police” which emerged with the anti-racist demonstrations that followed the death of George Floyd at the end of May.

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