We’ll get to Chicago

Don’t worry.We’ll get to Chicago.

First, let me take you back a couple of weeks to a DOJ announcement of the launching of Operation Legend in Kansas City. According to Attorney General Barr, this is an initiative in which “federal law enforcement agencies work in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight violent crime.” There was a recent announcement, Wednesday, July 22, the operation would be expanding to include additional cities– including Chicago.

The city of Portland was not mentioned in either announcement so it would appear the role federal agents would play in Operation Legend would be different than that of Portland. On paper, the operation looks perfectly legit. The question is whether communities currently plagued by violence can trust these federal agents will do what they say they’re going to do. I can say two weeks after the launching, Attorney General Bill Barr inaccurately said about the operation, “within two weeks, we’ve had two hundred arrests.” A Department of Justice official had to walk the statement back on the grounds it just wasn’t true. There are sayings about first impressions. This is not a good one.

Chicago, Il

A "Complicated" History with Federal Law Enforcement

On a broader note, the relationship between these communities and federal law enforcement has been “complicated” at best. If you asked Eric Garner’s mother whether she trusted Attorney General Barr, I think we could safely bet what that answer would be. Then, when you add things like COINTELPRO and other “operations”, you can see how there could be some issues.

So where does Chicago fit in? The answer is ‘everywhere.’ If the Chicago challenge can be unraveled, there is no doubt this will inform solutions for other cities.

Citizens are looking to their mayors to make the right decision. Unfortunately, like COIVD-19, gun violence is as much of a political issue as anything else. They’re wondering if this initiative is a publicity stunt or possibly something more sinister. 


  1. Attorney General William P. Barr Joins President Donald J. Trump to Announce Expansion of Operation Legend. https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/attorney-general-william-p-barr-joins-president-donald-j-trump-announce-expansion-operation. Last accessed: 7/28/2020.
  2. Attorney General William P. Barr Announces Launch of Operation Legend. https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/attorney-general-william-p-barr-announces-launch-operation-legend. Last accessed: 7/28/2020.
  3. Barr says feds arrested 200 people in Operation Legend. KC officials can’t confirm it. https://www.kansascity.com/news/local/crime/article244417362.html. Last accessed: 7/28/2020.

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