Attorney General William Barr announced at a Wednesday press conference that over 1,000 arrests have been made and over 200 people charged with a federal crime in conjunction with a large-scale anti-crime operation, reported Fox News. Operation Legend was launched last month and named for LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old Kansas City, MO boy shot and killed while sleeping in his house on June 29 of this year.
Operation Legend began on July 8 as “a sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative in which federal law enforcement agencies work in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight violent crime,” according to the Department of Justice.
The operation was intended to deal with the recent increase in violent crime in major cities across the country. Barr cited “pent up aggression prompted by state and local quarantine orders,” the national protest movement “to demonize police and defund their work,” and premature release of criminals by the courts as major factors causing the upsurge in crime. “Operation Legend is the heart of the federal government’s response to this upturn in violent crime. Its mission is to save lives, solve crimes and take violent offenders off the streets before they can claim more victims,” Barr said. “Rather than demonizing and defunding our police, we are supporting and strengthening our law enforcement partners at the state and local level.”
According to an official statement by the Justice Department Operation Legend is, “a sustained, systematic, and coordinated law enforcement initiative in which federal law enforcement agencies work in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight violent crime.” The operation brings federal assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to local police forces in cities including, so far, Kansas City, MO, Chicago, Albuquerque, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Memphis, and most recently Indianapolis.
Barr addressed the namesake the of the operation in his press conference, saying “LeGend is a symbol of the many hundreds of innocent lives that have been taken in the recent upsurge of crime in many of our urban areas. His life mattered and the lives of all of those victims matter. His name should be remembered and his senseless death, like those of all the other innocent victims in this recent surge, should be unacceptable to all Americans.”
Operation Legend has made available $78.5 million in funds to local governments to hire more police and prosecutors and acquire new technology to better fight violent crime.
Ryson Ellis, a 22-year-old, was arrested last week and charged with second degree murder in the death of Taliferro. Barr touted the efforts of the combined local/federal operation that caught Ellis. “We saw one result of those efforts last week when Kansas City Police arrested the suspected murderer of LeGend,” Barr said. “This arrest will not bring LeGend back but it will make his case an example of how we can come together to take violent criminals off the street and to make our communities safer.”
Among the charges against those arrested in Operation Legend are illegal possession of firearms, theft, bank robbery, carjacking, and drug trafficking.