First Portland, Now Chicago: Federal Agents Are on the Way

ACLU criticizes the deployment, which the mayor wasn't interested in
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2020 5:16 PM CDT
Now Chicago Is Being Sent Federal Agents to Curb Violence
David Brown, Chicago police superintendent, speaks to reporters about the efforts to quell Memorial Day weekend violence in May.   (Tyler LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

Chicago is being sent about 150 agents by the Department of Homeland Security to combat violence in the city, much like the controversial deployment of federal force in Oregon. The agents are to help local police and other federal agencies, the Chicago Tribune reported. Other details, including who will supervise the force, were not released. President Trump had suggested he might send a federal force. Before the move was reported Monday, Chicago's mayor said she wasn't interested in his help, citing the events in Portland. "We don't need federal agents without any insignia taking people off the streets and holding them, I think, unlawfully," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. She said she'd welcome federal help in the form of fully funding prosecutors, keeping guns out of the city, and boosting funding for the ATF in Chicago.

The ACLU immediately objected to the deployment. "Trump’s federal troops will not be a constructive force in Chicago," the organization said. "As our colleagues have seen in Portland, Trump's secret forces will terrorize communities, and create chaos. This is not law and order. This is an assault on the people of this country." A police union boss had written Trump on Saturday calling Lightfoot a failure and asking for federal help maintaining order. Over the weekend, police reported that at least 63 people were shot in Chicago, nine of them under 18. A dozen were killed, per WGN. Shootings and homicides are running more than 45% higher this year than last. "President Trump has said a lot of disparaging things about the city of Chicago," Lightfoot said last week, per the Hill, adding that if Trump "was really committed to helping us deal with our violence he would do some easy things." (Police and demonstrators clashed Friday in Chicago.)

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