Over 1,000 people have been arrested and over 200 charged with a federal crime in major metropolitan cities since Operation Legend was launched by the Department of Justice in July, Attorney General William Barr announced Wednesday.
“Many of those arrests are for violent state crimes, including more than 90 homicides, like LeGend Taliferro’s,” Barr said in a news conference, referencing the boy the operation is named after.
“That’s more than 90 suspected killers who might still be on the streets without Operation Legend, and in many cities the operation is just getting started.”
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has also seized nearly 400 firearms.
Operation Legend was launched on July 8 as a “sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative” for federal law enforcement to work with state and local law enforcement officials “to fight violent crime,” according to a DOJ news release.
It was named in honor of LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old who was shot and killed on June 29 in Kansas City, Missouri. His suspected killer has been charged with second-degree murder, Fox News reported. First started in Kansas City, the operation has expanded to Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis and Indianapolis, as well as Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Memphis, Tennessee.
“Operation Legend is the heart of the federal government’s response to this uptick in violent crime. Its mission is to save lives, solve crimes, and take violent offenders off our streets before they can claim more victims,” Barr said, pointing to a rise in violent crime in many major cities.
“Rather than demonizing or defunding police, we are supporting and strengthening our law enforcement partners at the state and local level.”
In Kansas City, 43 people have been charged with federal crimes, including drug trafficking and illegal possession of a firearm, and 17 people were arrested on homicide charges. Sixteen people in Albuquerque and 32 people in Cleveland were charged with federal crimes including firearms-related offenses. Two defendants in Cleveland remain fugitives.
Twenty-two people were charged with federal crimes in Detroit, 25 in St. Louis and seven in Memphis. Eleven people were charged with federal crimes in Milwaukee and 28 firearms were seized. The latest numbers do not include Indianapolis, whose operation was announced Friday.
“Our work is just getting started,” Barr said.
“There is no more important mission for the Department of Justice than keeping our communities safe and enforcing the rule of law.
“Through Operation Legend, we will continue working with our state and local partners to do just that.”