Washington, Jul 22 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced that he is sending “hundreds” of federal agents to several cities, including Chicago and Albuquerque, to fight what he said was the “wave” of criminal violence there.
“In recent weeks there has been a radical movement to defund, dismantle and dissolve our police department,” Trump said at the White House, blaming the movement for “a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders and heinous crimes of violence.”
Saying that “This bloodshed must end. This bloodshed will end,” Trump noted that he would be sending “hundreds” of federal agents to the cities in question.
Specifically, he cited the cities of Chicago, Albuquerque and Kansas City, Missouri, but he added that other cities will be added to the list in the coming weeks.
Trump said that his administration had no other option than to involve itself in the matter.
The president has claimed to be the “law and order” candidate, a stance he has tried to carve out in advance of the November election, in which he is seeking a second term, although current voter polls show him behind the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, by double digits.
Appearing along with the president to make the announcement was US Attorney General William Barr, who said that there were already about 200 federal agents in Kansas City, that a comparable number would be sent to Chicago and about 35 more to Albuquerque.
According to figures provided by the police, 11 people died and another 59 were wounded by gunfire last weekend in Chicago, a city that has experienced more than 400 homicides so far this year, compared with 275 by this time in 2019.
Trump’s decision has been rejected by local authorities, who have criticized the sending of federal agents to their cities.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat, told MSNBC on Monday that “We are not going to have people who don’t know our streets don’t know our neighborhoods and then who are engaging in clearly unconstitutional conduct operating at will in our city.”
Trump, in making his announcement, did not mention the situation in Portland, Oregon, where federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies have been deployed on the basis of the argument that they are needed to contain protests against racism that already have lasted more than 50 days, but local authorities have complained that the presence of the feds – in combat gear, camouflaged uniforms and without visible identification – are only making the situation worse.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, another Democrat, has said that the federal agents are “sharply escalating the situation,” accusing them of using tactics that are “abhorrent” and “completely unconstitutional.”