Mayor Lightfoot responds to Trump announcing surge of federal law enforcement to Chicago

Wednesday, President Trump announced:

Today, I’m announcing a surge of federal law enforcement into American communities plagued by violent crime. We’ll work every single day to restore public safety, protect our nation’s children and bring violent perpetrators to justice. We’ve been doing it and you’ve been seeing what’s happening all around the country. We’ve just started this process and frankly, we have no choice but to get involved.

Patch reports Mayor Lori Lightfoot said President Trump “got the message”: Secret federal police his administration deployed to Portland don’t belong in Chicago.

On Wednesday, the Trump Administration announced it would send a “surge” of federal agents to stem the spike of shootings and murders plaguing Chicago and other cities.

Officials said the influx of as many as 200 federal agents will be deployed to help existing agencies including the FBI and DEA. They will work “hand-in-glove” with Chicago police to help solve murders, make arrests and other tactics that Attorney General William Barr called “classic crime fighting.”

Lightfoot said “that’s a big, important difference” from the unidentified federal officers that arrested and detained protestors in Portland, which she called an act of “tyranny and dictatorship.”

“We don’t need federal troops. We don’t need unnamed, secret federal agents roaming around the streets of Chicago, taking residents without cause and violating their basic constitutional rights,” the mayor said. “I’m glad to see that the president got the message.”

Trump said his decision to deploy of federal agents and send additional funding for law enforcement is aimed at stopping “a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders and heinous crimes of violence” that he blamed on a “radical movement to defund, dismantle and dissolve our police department.”

“This bloodshed must end,” Trump said. “This bloodshed will end.”

Lightfoot offered a different perspective. The mayor called “Operation Liberty,” the code name for Trump’s deployment of federal agents, a “political stunt” aimed at distracting from his administration’s failed coronavirus crisis.

The mayor said it’s too soon to tell if the federal help will add value to the fight against violent crime in Chicago. That will depend on whether federal agents “are actually here to work in partnership” in the fight against gun violence and “not trying to play police in our streets.”

“That’s something different, and that may add value,” she said. “But, the proof is going to be in the pudding. … We’ve got to see what actually materializes.”

Lightfoot said she would accept additional funding for law enforcement from the feds so long as it doesn’t come with conditions.

“Unfortunately, this administration has tried to condition law enforcement resources in terms of grants on abandoning our role as a sanctuary city. We will never ever, ever, ever retreat from the fact that we are a welcoming sanctuary city.”