DOJ has launched the initiative in cities seeing spikes in violent crime.
The Justice Department announced Thursday that there have so far been “more than 2,000 arrests” across nine cities under the “Operation Legend” law enforcement initiative since its launch in July, including 147 suspects arrested on homicide charges.
The department said in a statement that 476 of the more than 2,000 individuals arrested have been charged with federal offenses, consisting mostly of firearms and drugs-related charges.
‘Operation Legend’ was first launched in Kansas City, Missouri, in July after the city reported a surge in homicides. The initiative was named after 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro — who was shot and killed in his sleep on June 29 in Kansas City.
Kansas City police arrested Taliferro’s alleged killer earlier last month.
The operation has seen dozens of agents from the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and other agencies dispatched across nine cities seeing similar surges in violent crime, with Barr saying their primary mission would be to supplement existing federal, state and local law enforcement in their investigative efforts.
The initial rollout of Operation Legend, however, was not without controversy as local leaders objected to President Donald Trump‘s characterization of the deployment of federal authorities into cities run mostly by Democrats as an election-year political stunt.
In an Aug. 19 visit to Kansas City, Barr instead blamed the media for creating the impression that Operation Legend was in line with the deployment of federal troops to cities like Portland and Seattle, where scenes of armed officials in fatigues clashing with protesters and rioters have exacerbated tensions and led to further unrest.
“One is dealing with civil unrest, rioting, and the other is the classical traditional work that law enforcement does,” Barr said.