US President Donald Trump is now sending federal security forces to Chicago and Kansas City. Chicago’s mayor protests.
In a dispute over the deployment of federal security forces in US cities, the government in Washington has announced the dispatch of “hundreds” of officials to the city of Chicago. This should counter a wave of violence in the metropolis, US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday (local time) in the White House. There has recently been a “shocking explosion of killings” and violent crimes involving the use of firearms. “This bloodshed must end,” said Trump. “We have no choice but to interfere.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot called Trump’s announcement a “political stunt”. The democrat had previously spoken out clearly against the sending of federal security forces that appear to be paramilitary, as can currently be seen in the city of Portland. On Wednesday, she said: “We don’t need federal troops. We don’t need nameless officials roaming the streets of Chicago, pulling our residents out of circulation for no reason, and violating their constitutional rights. “Lightfoot added,” If these agents are here to work in partnership (…) , and not trying to play the police (…) can add value.”
Minister of Justice William Barr announced that the government would send federal security forces to other cities. More than 200 are already in Kansas City, a comparable number of officials are being sent to Chicago. 35 more would be sent to Albuquerque, New Mexico. According to the Department of Justice, the number of murders in Chicago has increased significantly compared to the previous year.
Trump promised that criminals would be found, arrested and prosecuted. This will be hard and “tedious work” and will take some time, he said. “We are ready, willing and able to go to those cities that are being decimated by gunfights. And we will help,” Trump said at a later press conference. He stressed that the government could send even more help to mayors and governors on demand.
Lightfoot was skeptical about Trump’s motivation to send additional officials to the city. Trump only wanted to distract from his “failure” in the fight against the corona pandemic. If Trump really wanted to do something to combat urban violence, he should campaign for a stricter gun law at the federal level, for example. “He does not care. He doesn’t care,”she said. The president is only concerned with helping himself and making others bad. “If cities were important to him, if Chicago was important to him, there were significant ways the President could actually help,” said Lightfoot.
In a politically very unusual move, the government had deployed security forces to Portland, Oregon, against the city’s stated will. Lawsuits are already pending in Oregon against the sometimes brutal actions of federal troops, including that of the state’s Justice Minister.
In Portland, protests that broke out after the death of African American George Floyd in a brutal police operation less than two months ago had sparked violent clashes with the police. In addition, property damage to the building of a federal court repeatedly occurred. Lightfoot said what happened in Portland after the federal officials were posted was not democracy. “We call that tyranny and dictatorship,” she said.
Trump accuses the Democrats of leaving large cities to protesting “anarchists” and violent criminals. “For decades, politicians who rule many major cities in our country have put criminals’ interests above the rights of law-abiding citizens,” Trump said. He accused them of having used the “extreme leftist movement” to “smash” the police authorities – with the consequence that the violence got out of control.
Trump referred to demands to cut funds from the police. Since Floyd’s death, budget cuts and police reorganization have been discussed nationwide in the United States. Barr also linked the increase in violence directly to the call for far-reaching police reforms: “In many cities, this increase is a direct result of the attack on police forces and the weakening of police forces.” Trump announced on Wednesday that the government would take some municipalities into account provide additional funds for hiring police officers.