“Our work is just getting started, there is no more important mission for the Department of Justice than keeping our communities safe,” Barr said.
Attorney General William Barr announced Wednesday that there have been nearly 1,500 arrests across eight U.S. cities thus far under the “Operation Legend” law enforcement initiative launched nearly six weeks ago and highly touted by President Trump in his reelection campaign.
Of those arrests, according to the Justice Department, approximately 217 defendants have been charged with federal crimes, most of which are drug and gun-related. Barr said investigators have also assisted state and local authorities in bringing homicide charges against more than 90 defendants.
“That’s more than 90 suspected killers who might still be on the streets without Operation Legend,” Barr said at a news conference in Kansas City, Missouri.
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) August 19, 2020
Officials at the news conference could not say how many of the 1,485 individuals arrested under ‘Operation Legend’ remain in custody. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also says it has seized nearly 400 firearms since the start of the operation, according to ABC News.
White House Press Secretary touted the great accomplishment in a Wednesday press briefing:
Thanks to the actions of the Law and Order President @realDonaldTrump, over 1,000 suspected criminals have been arrested and 90 suspected killers have been taken off the streets in JUST 6 weeks!
Operation LeGend continues to yield results! pic.twitter.com/RYtACx4mZl
— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) August 19, 2020
Barr launched Operation Legend early last month, telling ABC News Chief Justice Correspondent Pierre Thomas in an exclusive interview that the initiative was named in honor of 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro — who was shot and killed in his sleep on June 29 in Kansas City.
Kansas City Police announced the arrest of a suspect in Taliferro’s murder last week. Taliferro’s mother spoke briefly at the press conference where she thanked the investigators who helped track down her son’s alleged killer.
“We don’t have our son, but we have a weight lifted off of us,” Taliferro said.
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) August 19, 2020
Trump began a White House news conference last week by holding up a photo of the boy.
During the news conference, Barr addressed the recent uptick of violent crime across several parts of the country, at one point saying, that he believed it might be a result of a combination between “pent up aggression” to state and local quarantine orders, the “premature release of dangerous criminals by the courts” during the COVID-19 pandemic and the “Defund the Police” movement.