Federal law enforcement agents will be sent to St. Louis and Memphis, Tennessee, to help fight violent crime, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday.
The announcement marks an expansion of “Operation Legend,” a plan introduced last month in several cities to address spikes in crimes such as murder.
President Donald Trump last month blamed increases in violence in U.S. cities on left-leaning movements to “dismantle and dissolve” local police departments following the killing of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis in June.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr said in a statement that federal agents being sent to St. Louis and Memphis will work with local law enforcement “to take the shooters and chronic violent criminals off of our streets.”
The Justice Department said the agents going to the two cities will be from the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the U.S. Marshals Service.
The operation was first launched in Kansas City, Missouri, on July 8, and has since been expanded to Chicago; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Cleveland; Detroit and Milwaukee.
(Reporting by Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Leslie Adler and Jonathan Oatis)