Trump poised to send federal forces to Chicago, with support from Fraternal Order of Police leader

The murder rate in Chicago has nearly doubled as compared to this time last year.

Updated: July 21, 2020 - 1:59pm

The White House said Tuesday that President Trump is still deciding on a plan to send federal forces to crime-riddled Chicago, amid reports that roughly 150 agents are headed this week to the Midwest city.

"'He's made no announcements as to who's going where," White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters. 

The Department of Homeland Security is reportedly preparing to send the agents to assist other branches of federal law enforcement in their efforts to tamp down on the city's soaring crime rate. 

The city has been hit with a wave of violent crime since the start of the coronavirus in mid March and the George Floyd protests that started in late May.

This past weekend, 63 people were reportedly shot and 12 killed. 

The Department of Justice has indicated the move is imminent and will likely reflect the actions recently taken by federal law enforcement agencies in Kansas City.

The effort, known as Operation Legend, involves sending in the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service to Missouri to assist local police during a time of chaos. 

John Catanzara, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police chapter in Chicago, recently posted on the group's Facebook page a letter addressed to Trump and the federal government requesting intervention.

“I am certain you are aware of the chaos currently affecting our city on a regular basis now. I am writing to formally ask you for help from the federal government. Mayor Lightfoot has proved to be a complete failure who is either unwilling or unable to maintain law and order here,” he wrote

Chicago Mayor Lori Mayor Lightfoot called Catanzara "unhinged." 

On Monday morning, Lightfoot pushed back against the idea of the president sending in federal forces.

"We don't need federal agents without any insignia taking people off the streets and holding them, I think, unlawfully," the Democratic mayor said. 

Lightfoot instead suggests that the president fully fund prosecutors and bolster the resources of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. She also wrote a four-page letter to the president in which she advocated for investment in disenfranchised communities on Chicago's south and west sides. 

The Chicago Police Department says it has no say in whether federal agents assist but asked that they work together with local law enforcement.

"If federal agents are deployed, it is critical that they coordinate with the Chicago Police Department and work alongside us to fight violent crime in Chicago," the department said in a statement.

In the 28-day period that ended on July 12, 385 people had been killed in the city, compared with 260 during the same period last year. That's a 48% increase, with shootings up 46%. 

Since's Floyd's death on May 25 while in police custody, homicides in New York were up 23% from last year and 21% in Philadelphia. Los Angeles saw a 13% rate in homicides in the period ending on July 11. 

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