U.S. Attorney General William Barr announced Wednesday that 1,485 arrests have been made under “Operation Legend,” the Trump administration’s anti-violence crime initiative.
Operation Legend — a law enforcement program started around six weeks ago — is currently underway in nine U.S. cities and has led to nearly 220 individuals being charged with federal crimes.
“That’s more than 90 suspected killers who might still be on the streets without Operation Legend,” Barr told reporters during a press conference in Kansas City, Missouri. “Our work is just getting started, there is no more important mission for the Department of Justice than keeping our communities safe.”
“In far too many states, the sentences are too lenient and do not incapacitate these violent criminals long enough and do not provide a deterrent,” he added. “Criminals know that. They know that the federal system means business and we’re putting them out of business.”
At one point in his press conference, Barr emphasized Operation Legend is focused on putting violent criminals behind bars, not those who commit petty crimes.
“I think what people refer to as mass incarceration really refers to the harsh long sentences for minor drug distribution or small amounts of drug distribution, which led to a very substantial increase in the prison population,” stated Barr. “I’m not talking about that now. I’m talking about getting shooters off the street.”
ABC News notes:
Barr launched ‘Operation Legend’ early last month, telling ABC News Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas in an exclusive interview that the initiative was named in honor of 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro — who was shot and killed in his sleep on June 29 in Kansas City. Kansas City Police announced the arrest of a suspect in Taliferro’s murder last week. Taliferro’s mother spoke briefly at the press conference where she thanked the investigators who helped track down her son’s alleged killer.
Later, Barr said he believed the surge in crime in several cities has been fueled by “pent-up aggression” thanks to coronavirus lockdown orders and “premature release of dangerous criminals by the courts.”
Operation Legend currently operates in Albuquerque, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and St. Louis.