Operation Legend is deploying to Milwaukee, and official in charge of the initiative insists it’s not about reining in the activities of peaceful protesters in the city.
During a Wednesday press conference in Milwaukee, U.S. Attorney Andrew Krueger announced that up to 30 federal investigators will focus is on the city’s most violent crimes.
“The news that it would be coming to Milwaukee last week got out ahead of things, which resulted in a lot of concern,” Krueger said. “And frankly a lot of the media stories, I think led to the confusion. I would strongly encourage you, when you report on this story, do not roll ‘B footage’ of Portland, Oregon. Because that’s an entirely different situation.”
Krueger said investigators participating in Operation Legend will not be patrolling streets or going after protesters, but will assist with investigations into violent crimes.
“Everybody here recognizes and cherishes the 1st Amendment rights that we have in this country, to be able to speak peacefully. As Operation Legend proceeds, we will take the care that is always taken to respect constitutional rights and allow peaceful protests to continue. This has nothing to do with protest response.”
Milwaukee is closing in 100 homicides, including the June 30 murder of a 16-year-old girl in which the FBI is offering a reward.
While other local and state elected officials have voiced concerns, Milwaukee County Sheriff Earnell Lucas is fully on board with Operation Legend.
Lucas spoke passionately during the press conference announcing the deployment. The sheriff said every part of the community needs to be on board with ending violent crime. “We as a community have got to put an end to this madness, or this madness will put an end to us,” Lucas said.
The Milwaukee Common Council Tuesday approved two measures, including one to ban federal agents from not wearing name badges in the city. The “One Milwaukee” Task Force, which includes Milwaukee County and Milwaukee school leaders, doesn’t want President Donald Trump to escalate violence.
Krueger said ten investigators are already assigned to Milwaukee temporarily, the others will be assigned permanently over the coming year.