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AG Barr visits St. Louis in Trump admin push to control rising crime

By
Don Jacobson
U.S. Attorney General William Barr meets Thursday with members of the St. Louis Police Department in St. Louis. The officers are among several in the department who have been shot in the line of duty this year. Photo by Jeff Roberson/UPI/Pool
U.S. Attorney General William Barr meets Thursday with members of the St. Louis Police Department in St. Louis. The officers are among several in the department who have been shot in the line of duty this year. Photo by Jeff Roberson/UPI/Pool | License Photo

Oct. 15 (UPI) -- U.S. Attorney General William Barr met with law enforcement officials in St. Louis Thursday as part of the Trump administration's Operation Legend initiative to tackle an upsurge in crime in U.S. cities.

Barr and Tim Garrison, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, met with local law enforcement leadership after riding through north St. Louis, which Garrison described in a tweet as "the most dangerous part of one of the most dangerous cities in America."

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They also met with the widow of Tamarris Bohannon, a St. Louis police officer who died in August after being shot while responding to a call in the city.

Bohannon is one of nine St. Louis police officers who have been shot since June 1, Garrison said.

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Barr is also scheduled to participate in a roundtable discussion on Operation Legend, which the administration launched in July as a "sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative" to tackle "the sudden surge of violent crime."

The initiative has resulted in more than 5,000 arrests, including approximately 247 for homicide. More than 2,000 firearms and large amounts of illegal drugs have also been seized, the Justice Department said.

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The initiative started in Kansas City and has been expanded to include Albuquerque, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Memphis and Indianapolis.

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Barr appeared at a similar Operation Legend roundtable in Albuquerque Wednesday, where he and the region's top federal prosecutor criticized the city for not doing enough to fight violent crime.

U.S. Attorney for the District Attorney of New Mexico John Anderson said Albuquerque city officials have not yet accepted a $10 million federal grant given to them to hire 40 new officers.

"I can say I'm disappointed by this continued inaction on the part of the city," Anderson said.

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller issued a statement disputing the claim, however, saying the funding was accepted weeks ago after being closely reviewed to make sure it "would not be tied to policies that are out of step with our community."

He referenced President Donald Trump's moves this year to send teams of federal law enforcement officers into U.S. cities to quell protests against police brutality -- frequently over the objections of local officials.

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