Bill Barr Celebrates New DOJ 'Surge' Targeting Violent Crime By Touting 199 Arrests That Occurred Pre-Surge

from the who-needs-accuracy-when-you-have-a-megaphone dept

Earlier this month, the DOJ announced the launch of “Operation Legend.” The operation — named after four-year-old homicide victim LeGend Taliferro — targeted cities experiencing spikes in violent crimes, including Kansas City, Missouri, where Taliferro was killed.

Cities may not have been asking for federal interference in their law enforcement efforts, but “help” was on the way, nonetheless.

“President Trump has made clear: the federal government stands ready and willing to assist any of our state and local law enforcement partners across the nation responding to violent crime. Operation Legend will combine federal and local resources to combat the disturbing uptick in violence by surging federal agents and other federal assets into cities like Kansas City, a city currently experiencing its worst homicide rate in its history,” said Attorney General Barr.

The first recipient of the “surge” was Kansas City. And the operation has been more successful than anyone could have imagined.

Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday that 200 arrests had been made in a new federal operation launched in Kansas City.

“Just to give you an idea of what’s possible, the FBI went in very strong into Kansas City and within two weeks we’ve had 200 arrests,” Barr said of the operation, which is sending more than 200 federal agents into the metro area.

Truly remarkable numbers. According to the DOJ, 225 federal agents from the FBI, DEA, ATF, and US Marshals Service had been added to the mix in Kansas City. In just four days, the feds are well on the way to ending violent crime in the city. And they weren’t even stepping on local toes to do it:

“These agents won’t be patrolling the streets,” [US Attorney Tim Garrison] said. “They won’t replace or usurp the authority of local officers.”

So, how were the feds racking up 50 federal arrests per day? The answer is: they weren’t. In fact, Operation Legend has only resulted in one arrest in four days. A DOJ official cleared up Barr’s self-congratulatory statement after no one could find any evidence these 200 arrests had taken place.

The official said Barr was referring to the number of arrests made in the city since the launch of Operation Relentless Pursuit, a precursor effort to Operation Legend that surged federal agents in U.S. cities facing crime waves, including Kansas City.

“We have made since December 2019 200 arrests in Kansas City,” the senior official said, referring to the launch of that initial operation. “Legend is essentially a continuation of that.”

Ah. “Essentially a continuation.” I see. Whatever it takes to make sure the top man doesn’t sound like a fuck up.

But all schadenfreude aside, there’s a problem here. The DOJ’s new task forces — blends of federal officers and agents inserted into cities to make street-level busts — just isn’t a good idea.

The DOJ’s response to ongoing protests has been, for the most part, horrifying. It’s been officers in camo — looking for all the world like a branch of the military — rolling out of unmarked vehicles to grab citizens and haul them away to unknown destinations for questioning. And this scary shit is being deployed for the limited purpose of protecting federal property. Like courthouses. And… um… statues.

This surge may be targeting criminal activity occurring nowhere near the sites of ongoing protests, but that won’t make the disappearing of suspects any more acceptable if these agencies continue to operate from unmarked vehicles and roll up on citizens wearing fatigues that don’t make it clear who they are or what agency they represent. Even separated from the First Amendment context of the protests, tactics like these aren’t what we want from our federal government. Suspected criminals still have rights and a “surge” of officers who appear to feel those are privileges is only going to make the current antipathy towards law enforcement even worse.

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Comments on “Bill Barr Celebrates New DOJ 'Surge' Targeting Violent Crime By Touting 199 Arrests That Occurred Pre-Surge”

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This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
That One Guy (profile) says:

Terrible at basic math and honesty, who knew?

Well now, if that’s how you count success then I have a sudden urge to start up a ‘look both ways before crossing the street’ initiative, as after a single day I can claim that my program has saves thousands, if not millions of lives because obviously my program will be a continuation of similar programs in the past, and best of all my claim will be just as accurate and honest as Barr’s was.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Alt-math for very very simple-minded

*"Just wait till the new ‘official’ COVID stats start coming out from the White House where a Sharpie will lower it down to zero.

Well, now that Trump has pulled federal funding for covid tests he’ll soon be able to factually state, with confidence, that "No further covid cases have been found in tests".

It takes a special kind of person to pull test funding because the number of cases found "looks bad".

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: 'All the corpses make me look bad, stop counting them.'

"Indeed, I believe the psychological term for that kind of person is ‘sociopath’."

Or, in saner times, a stand-up comedian using satire and hyperbole to imply an office-holder might be inclined to be both dumb and malicious.

It all leads back to Poe being the minimum bar of standard for sanity.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Another Kevin (profile) says:

"Looking for all the world like a branch of the military"

It’s been officers in camo — looking for all the world like a branch of the military

Nope. They don’t look at all like any branch of the military. I’m not being pedantic. This is an important point.

If they serving with a branch of the military, their battle dress uniforms would have displayed prominently their names, their services, the insignia of their units, and their insignia of rank, as can be seen at

If this were a war between nations, these individuals would not be soldiers subject to the Third Geneva Convention, but rather unlawful combatants. They are entitled to no protection accorded by wearing a uniform, since they wear merely a camouflage suit that is not recognizable as a uniform.

Unlawful combatants are likewise subject to capture and detention, but in addition they are subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals for acts which render their belligerency unlawful. The spy who secretly and without uniform passes the military lines of a belligerent in time of war, seeking to gather military information and communicate it to the enemy, or an enemy combatant who without uniform comes secretly through the lines for the purpose of waging war by destruction of life or property, are familiar examples of belligerents who are generally deemed not to be entitled to the status of prisoners of war, but to be offenders against the law of war subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals.
(Ex parte Quirin 317 U.S. 1 (1942); STONE, CJ delivered the unanimous opinion of the Supreme Court, with MURPHY, J recusing.)

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:


They don’t look at all like any branch of the military.

To the average American citizen, who probably wouldn’t know a properly attired military soldier from an ammosexual whackjob in camo fatigues, the agents of Trump’s secret police do look like they’re from the military. Therein lies part of the whole problem with all of this: How can we know if the people in those outfits are from the government or from some 2A militia who are using the government’s actions as a cover for…shall we say, “forceful citizen arrests”?

Another Kevin (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yes. That’s the point.

Which is what makes it important to get the word out that these "agents" are precisely what you characterize as "ammosexual whackjob[s] in camo fatigues." No government agency has acknowledged them, and their actions are in any case ultra vires for any government agency. They are therefore private actors. They cannot claim to be law enforcement officers and be accorded corresponding privileges because they are not acting in the line of duty.

Of course, the shadowy Heimatsicherheitsdienst that employs them will probably try to have it both ways: "they were rogue actors, so we’re not responsible" and "they were Federal agents, so shielded from prosecution." Although we’re pretty close to where these actors will simply ignore the courts, who after all have no direct enforcement power. "John Marshall has given his opinion. Let him enforce it." (A. Jackson)

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re: "Looking for all the world like a branch of the military

From a legal pov they can make a citizen’s arrest as soon as these unidentified people try to haul people away. Looking at the principle of law they probably should.

From a more realistic perspective if a bunch of unarmed black people overpower these shady kidnappers the official news will be that black militants assaulted armed federal agents and casus belli will have been provided for martial law.

The "rights" of a US citizen when going against the government today is about as useful as those of a chinese citizen.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Toom1275 (profile) says:

Brought to you by the DO"J" that:

  • turned 70,000 arrests of immigrants over 55 years into 70,000 convictions over 6 due to "mere editorial error" to remain jncorrected

  • made up the statistic that 402 of 549 of domestic terrorists since 9/11 were illigal immigrants by including 189 people "investigated" but never even charged, 100 foreign terrorsts who only acted overseas but were extradited to the US for trial. (the true #1 slot for American terrorism in the number of attacks and victims are right-wing extremists)

  • turned one incident into 126 assaults with the simple math rick of multiplying Children×Agents×projectiles to paper over the steady decline in border assaults.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

"So where were the violent protesters that Trump insists have taken over the city?"

In his head. If you watch the news closely, you’ll notice that very few actual violent protests have happened. There were riots, sure, and the usual fringe agitators that accompany or try to discredit any peaceful protest are there. But, not to any great degree. The justifications for sending in the secret police have focussed more on graffiti than actual violence – why is that if there’s so much actual violence, I wonder?

That’s largely because most of the protests are peaceful, until the cops start getting violent. As well as the gassing of the mayor you mentioned, recent events in Portland include a military veteran having his hand broken to a degree that requires reconstructive surgery for asking questions about loyalty and the "wall of Moms" who were tear gassed when they stood there chanting and singing. There’s plenty of examples of zero violence (or nothing above the level of vandalism and light property damage) until the cops start a fight.

But, that doesn’t seem to matter, and the narrative is being pushed that Portland, along with Chicago and Seattle (among others) are so violent that similar federal and military interventions is required.

Which, I’m sure has nothing to do with the fact that these cities overwhelmingly voted for Clinton in the last election or an attempt to suppress the vote in the next election /s

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: 'If it wasn't violent before the cops showed it will be after.'

Recently someone posted what might as well be the republican motto, ‘Ever accusation, a confession’, and it would seem that it applies here as well. There are indeed violent thugs smashing people and things up, it just happens to be the police and other government ‘peacekeepers’ that Trump and his cult idolize so very much and are doing their damnedest to inflict on any city that has the utter audacity to protest abuse of authority and rampant brutality.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Peter (profile) says:

If the arrests are fake ...

… is there any evidence that all of the folks in silly uniforms and unmarked vehicles are, in fact, federal officers?

In countries that not are not stellar democracies, it is quite common for, eh, concerned citizens to jump in and help the government "remove" the "troublemakers" off the streets. Permanently.

One wonders if we can be sure that that is not happening in the US right now, too.

Another Kevin (profile) says:

Re: CPB may be responsible

According to The Nation, US Customs and Border Patrol spokesman acknowledges that its agents were involved in some way in the Portland arrests (but neither confirms nor denies that they were the arresting officers, nor whether they were acting under orders, much less whose orders).

In summary, there’s no credible evidence that the camo-wearers are anything other than a private goon squad who happen to have government jobs. Of course, they may be beyond the rule of law, because they’re shielded by the law of the ruler.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Re:

"Just a bunch of jack booted nazis running around and no one will stop them, wtf"

Well, "Kristallnacht" is, indeed, legendary. As is the SA. They’re just not…positive legends to the vast majority.

A certain subset of US white supremacists, of course, consider this operation a fresh breeze and are likely singing Die Fahne Hoch in sheer joy every time they see this operation depicted on TV.

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

Military or civilian

Cops like to pretend they aren’t civilians. They are.

It’s been officers in camo — looking for all the world like a branch of the military

Well, given they are bringing M4s and M4A1s with suppressors, it’s "hard" to think how anyone would confuse them with anything other than military.

Snatching people off the street into unmarked -rental- vans with hoods over their head reminds me of Fauda, or The Black List, or The Godfather. These are not the actions of "law enforcement". These are the actions of MILITARY WANNABE THUGS LACKING TRAINING OR HUMANITY.

All the people who for years said "We need our firearms to avoid the gov’mint coming to take our rights away" — they’re here, and they’re taking your rights away… along with those arguments about the 2Am.

P.S. I don’t want to die at the hands of a false military FROM MY OWN COUNTRY. Congress has a role and they’ve abdicated it long enough.

Scary Devil Monastery (profile) says:

Re: Military or civilian

"All the people who for years said "We need our firearms to avoid the gov’mint coming to take our rights away" — they’re here, and they’re taking your rights away… along with those arguments about the 2Am."

It’s always been pretty clear to me at least that most of those quoting the ostensible reason for 2A are concerned with their personal rights. They won’t care if the government levels the city around them and will start screaming and firing in wild hysterics only when the federales surround their personal bunker.

They could care less if the government hauls away and deep-darks a bunch of black people, gays, liberals, lefties, women who want out of the kitchen, or Fred that bastard who owns the local drugstore.

This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it.

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Really? Please explain how "From each according to his ability to each according to his needs" has ANYTHING to do with government agents in unmarked vehicles grabbing people off the streets OR the status of my stomach.

Feel free to take your time and show your work. Being and reactionary about "communism is stupid" and "authoritarian governments" like the one we have now… is just… well… stupid.

Go do your homework.


This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I do love this tactic. "If you oppose the current system you must be a commie – and they also do the bad shit you’re complaining about here" Because those are obviously the only 2 options – crony capitalism backed by a wannabe military dictator or Soviet Russia. Nobody wants a better capitalist society or something proven to work in many other countries in the world, no other option exists.

Your argument really falls apart when reality enters into it, doesn’t it?

bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

  1. I don’t recall any of us supporting communism or claiming to do so.
  2. Communism is more of an economic policy like capitalism than a form of government like a dictatorship, one which has never actually been put into practice because greed exists. That the only forms of government that have even claimed to be communist have ended up as totalitarian dictatorships doesn’t inherently mean that the one necessarily leads to the other.
  3. There’s also fascism, which inherently leads to a totalitarian dictatorship but is actually quite different from communism in every other way.
  4. There exists a large amount of middle ground between a capitalist dictatorship and a “communist” dictatorship along with the many practical combinations of economic forms and forms of government that do not involve “government agents in unmarked vehicles grabbing people off the streets”.

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