In response, a company representative told The Intercept that the system’s placement is “not based on who’s living in the community. ShotSpotter, the largest gunshot detection provider in the country and a major beneficiary of Operation Legend, illustrates this well. Starting in Kansas City, Barr has dispatched dozens of officers to Chicago, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Detroit, Cleveland and Milwaukee, St. Louis, Memphis and Indianapolis. Awash in these federal funds, cities have doubled down on their surveillance investments, even as they face general budget shortfalls in the tens of millions. Operation LeGend initiative expands to St. Louis, Memphis | The … It’s based on, ‘where are the shootings?’” Still, for Matthew Guariglia, a policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, that has serious consequences. As long as I'm the United States Attorney, we will, in fact, aggressively, consistently, and unapologetically enforce that federal law against the worst of the worst criminals for harming our citizens and terrorizing our community. How many covert wars, miscarriages of justice, and dystopian technologies would remain hidden if our reporters weren’t on the beat? In Memphis, organizers have long battled police surveillance. “This is yet another surveillance technology that has the potential to victimize people based on their proximity to crime and overpolicing,” he said. More: Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf: Federal officers in Portland 'are not the Gestapo, storm troopers or thugs'. That’s all it takes to support the journalism you rely on. Just the presence of federal agents can undermine longstanding efforts for accountability on police surveillance. Milwaukee already has a ShotSpotter system in place, and Detroit now plans to deploy it again, after piloting the technology in 2014. These are “traditional crime-fighting activities” he told reporters in Detroit — just now “ratcheted-up.”. Many of the agents are on temporary assignment, working in collaboration with police; nearly half will relocate by November. Trump May Use Federal Forces in U.S. … Now, a growing number of cities and state law enforcement have access to some kind of mobile data extraction software. On July 22, 2020, Attorney General William Barr announced that more than 200 people were arrested during the initial operation in Kansas City, stating "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". Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney is not a significant departure from Rep. Cheri Bustos, but wants to end the ban on vendors who work on primary challenges. But in the month since Operation Legend was launched on July 8 — beginning in Kansas City, Mo., and subsequently expanding to seven other cities — mayors … City law enforcement has lobbied to amend and strike the decree, but so far, it has held. "Operation Legend is the heart of the federal government’s response to this uptick in violent crime," Barr said Wednesday. Authorities say that as of August 31, Operation Legend has led to the arrests of more than 2,000 people -- with 476 of them charged with federal offenses -- in participating cities nationwide. Yet there is little evidence that ShotSpotter reduces gun crime. Attorney General William Barr said federal authorities going into cities as part of Operation Legend will be different than the type of federal officials policing protests in Portland. “Much of this equipment and technology is given under the guise of either narcotics, policing, or counterterrorism,” Guariglia said. ", More: Federal agents, officers head to Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee as Operation Legend expands. Through Operation Legend, Memphis and four other cities received grants for gunshot detection technology, which lines cities with sensors to detect gunfire, despite longstanding concerns about its efficacy. Suspects in 90 homicides have been arrested under Operation Legend, the Trump administration deployment of federal officers to nine U.S. cities so far Who would hold party elites accountable to the values they proclaim to have? “And, ultimately, a lot of it gets used to monitor protests.”, Katya Schwenk[email protected]​protonmail.com@ktyschwnk. A breakdown of Trump's federal agent … “That’s the harsh truth. In Memphis, a unique consent decree from 1978 prohibits law enforcement from engaging in “political intelligence” — collecting information on individuals for political purposes. In turn, the grants have created an industry of policing technology dependent on federal funding. Consider what the world of media would look like without The Intercept. The Memphis police declined an interview request for this story and did not respond to several additional inquiries about the purchases. The Operation was first launched on July 8 in Kansas City, Missouri, and … On August 12, the city of Detroit — another of the nine cities targeted by Operation Legend — also placed a $100,000 order with Cellebrite to acquire the company’s “premium” software package and, two weeks later, renewed an older Cellebrite license for another $22,000 — more than tripling 2018 and 2019 expenditures. President Trump delivered remarks on Operation Legend: Combating violent crime in American cities at the White House. Through Operation Legend, Memphis and four other cities received grants for gunshot detection technology, which lines cities with sensors to … "Federal law still applies here on the streets of Memphis. The kind of reporting we do is essential to democracy, but it is not easy, cheap, or profitable. Through Operation Legend, Memphis and four other cities received grants for gunshot detection technology, despite longstanding concerns about its efficacy. “Much of this equipment and technology is given under the guise of either narcotics, policing, or counterterrorism. Even as violent crime has surged in several U.S. cities, local leaders have expressed concern for the recent federal deployments after federal officers engaged in high profile clashes with protesters in Portland, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., in demonstrations against police brutality following the May 25 death of George Floyd. "It’s not to harm or to hurt. That legislation remains stalled in the House, but for ShotSpotter, Operation Legend proved a windfall. "Its mission is to save lives, solve crimes, and take violent offenders off our streets before they can claim more victims. Operation Legend's federal charges by the numbers | Fox News Attorney General Announces Nationwide “Operation Legend” to … As cries to “defund the police” resound in the streets and cities fly surveillance planes low over demonstrations, Operation Legend is the latest reminder of the magnitude, and consequence, of federal police spending. The fight came to a head in 2017, when a lawsuit against the city of Memphis revealed years of close surveillance of Black Lives Matter activists and union organizers. Progress report out on Operation Legend federal crime fighting … Advocates have long called for federal grant funding reform, with some results, but the government has continued to grow its police budget; just two Department of Justice grant programs, Byrne JAG and the Community Oriented Policing Services program, give out about a collective $750 million annually to law enforcement. Operation Legend and its December precursor, Operation Relentless Pursuit, are both funding surveillance technology in cities across the country. Taliferro was killed while he was sleeping in his bed. The tools always trickle down,” a forensic scientist told Motherboard in 2016. “This Task Force is already reviewing video camera footage and other evidence to identify perpetrators and develop strong cases against them,” she wrote. This decree was the backbone of the 2018 American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit, which held that Memphis had violated the law. Since its inception, Operation Legend has yielded more than 3,500 local, state, and federal arrests, with more than 800 defendants charged with federal crimes. It is to help investigate unsolved murders, in which one of those happens to be our innocent, 4-year-old son. Some were already on the ground by the time U.S. Attorney Michael Dunavant announced the onset of Operation Legend and the city became, along with St. Louis, the seventh to be targeted by the Justice Department’s heavy-handed initiative to reduce violent crime. Take, for example, the new popularity of phone-hacking technology with police: The technology was first picked up more than a decade ago by federal agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the FBI. Barr has maintained that the additional officers are only assisting in combating local violence and will not take part in crowd control duties that have drawn federal agents into clashes with street protesters. “And when you start feeding one surveillance technology after another into a database, you give police departments the ability to track what people are doing very closely.”. Background on Operation Legend. Of the arrests so far, Barr said that more than 200 suspects have been charged with federal crimes. President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr are expected to announce Wednesday that federal agents will surge into several American cities including Chicago to help combat rising crime. Memphis is a prime example: Over the last decade, the city’s license plate reader system, its “real-time crime center” — which houses a “video wall” of live surveillance camera feeds — and its gunshot recognition cameras were all funded, at least in part, through Byrne JAG grants. Operation Legend Is Bringing Surveillance Tech to CitiesUsing federal grants, cities are contracting with companies that hack smartphones and detect gunshots.By Katya SchwenkSep 13 2020https://theinte The company has spent nearly $2 million lobbying legislators over the past decade, according to records from the Center for Responsive Politics — most recently, on a bill that would permit the attorney general to dole out grants for gunshot detection tech. The Intercept is an independent nonprofit news outlet. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives. The Intercept is a First Look Media Company. Why, then, is St. Louis still receiving federal grants to expand the technology? “You’ve got cops and cruisers using it. We want justice for our son and others. Make no mistake, Joe Biden is a Washington creature with a multidecade record of support for wars and militarism. The company points to other investigative benefits overlooked by the study. Its grants also fund sophisticated policing technology. Still, Memphis Police Director Michael Rallings has alluded to partnering with the FBI to get around some of the decree’s restrictions, later confirming through a city spokesperson that he “told [federal officials] that we are restricted by the consent decree and depend on them to catch threats articulated on social media.”, As U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Josh Minkler said, as he announced Operation Legend’s expansion to Indianapolis, federal agencies contribute “not just manpower, but technology that can help identify and arrest the individuals. 1033 continues provide bayonets, grenade launchers, and other leftovers from U.S. wars overseas to police precincts across the country. Biden Is the Perfect Figurehead for the Post-Trump National Security Establishment, Someone Has Been Telling Lies in the White House Briefing Room, Kayleigh McEnany Says, New DCCC Chair Promises to End Controversial Blacklist Policy, assumed a hostile attitude toward the initiative. The decree only covers the city,” explained Tom Castelli, legal director for the ACLU of Tennessee, though per the decree, the city cannot collaborate on unlawful surveillance with outside agencies. We don’t have ads, so we depend on our members — 35,000 and counting — to help us hold the powerful to account. Feds send agents into three US cities for 'Operation Legend' Now, activists there say that Operation Legend is a serious blow. What is Operation Legend? The suit was successful, and in 2018, a federal judge ordered an independent monitor to oversee policing in the city. "For us, LeGend is a symbol of the many hundreds of innocent lives that have been taken in the recent upsurge of crime in many of our cities this summer," Barr said at briefing in Kansas City. A study published this year on ShotSpotter in St. Louis found that the system, whose microphones detect and alert police to gunshots, had no impact on violent crime whatsoever: “The results were, essentially, it doesn’t work,” said Dennis Mare, a professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville who co-authored the study, though he admitted that it is difficult to extrapolate the results to all cities. Operation Legend Is Working, Violent Crime Rates in Cities Falling, … Operation Legend started in Kansas City, Missouri and is named after four-year-old LeGend Taliferro. Attorney General William Barr talks to the media during a news conference about Operation Legend, a federal task force formed to fight violent crime in several cities, on Aug. 19, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo. Through Operation Legend, Memphis and four other cities received grants for gunshot detection technology, which lines cities with sensors to detect gunfire, despite longstanding concerns about its efficacy. And his senseless death, like that of other innocent victims during the recent surge of violent crime, should be unacceptable to all Americans.". 'Operation Legend': Trump Announces Federal Agents Will Be Sent … About half of those involve firearm offenses. “ShotSpotter spends a lot of money,” was Mares’s answer. Today, the expansion of Operation Legend was announced in Cleveland, Detroit, and Milwaukee. What is Operation Legend? Joining is simple and doesn’t need to cost a lot: You can become a sustaining member for as little as $3 or $5 a month. In 2014, footage of military vehicles rolling down the streets of Ferguson drew national outcry, bringing scrutiny to the program. President Trump promised to assist America’s cities that have been plagued by violence. The Department of Defense’s 1033 program is perhaps the best-known example of federal investment in policing. But the Homeland Security and Justice departments also fund law enforcement to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars a year. (Aug. 19), arrest of a suspect in the slaying of LeGend Taliferro, Federal agents, officers head to Detroit, Cleveland, Milwaukee as Operation Legend expands, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf: Federal officers in Portland 'are not the Gestapo, storm troopers or thugs', Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. And then they have access to federal courts.”, For Joia Thornton, an organizer with Decarcerate Memphis, a group that formed in response to Operation Relentless Pursuit, the initiatives form part of a longer legacy of federal support for policing. "His life mattered; his name should be remembered. Chicago, meanwhile, announced on August 14 that it would employ “enhanced” technology for “around-the-clock” monitoring of social media to identify looters. They build up,” she said. The estimated $65,000 contract would double previous annual spending on the technology, per city procurement records. We have to take a stand in our communities and speak up to help this operation be successful. In August, 40 federal agents arrived in Memphis. Local authorities could not confirm the number announced by Barr, with The Kansas City Starlater stating that "A Department of Justice official said the 200 arrests cited by Barr Wednesday included some dating back to December 2… Police watch while people gather for a labor march on the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. April 4, 2018 in Memphis. One hundred federal agents from the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives were sent to Chicago through Operation Legend in late July. Mr. Trump, joined at a White House event by Attorney General William Barr, unveiled an expansion of the “Operation Legend” program to include cities such … The Bureau of Justice Assistance, which has offered generous grants to Memphis, Detroit, and other cities through Operation Legend this summer, has previously funded Cellebrite products for police departments in Florida, Maryland, Kansas, and Idaho. This operation is personal to us. On August 4, two days before Operation Legend was formally announced in the city, Memphis signed a new contract with Cellebrite, an Israeli forensics manufacturer popular with law enforcement, whose products can hack and extract data from smartphones. Attorney General William Barr announced Wednesday that a Department of Justice anticrime initiative launched July 8 has led to 1,485 arrests across nine US ", Barr has said the arrest in the Taliferro murder marked a "significant step forward" in the Kansas City investigation and "illustrates the potential of Operation Legend more broadly. “We believe this mirrors the three-strikes laws, the war on drugs — all of these types of tactics to drive up mass incarceration,” she told The Intercept. Teams of federal and local authorities have made more than 1,000 arrests, including suspects in 90 homicides, as part of a national crackdown on violent crime in nine U.S. cities, Attorney General William Barr said Wednesday. The local concern brought a sharp rebuke from Michael Dunavant, the chief federal prosecutor in Memphis. ", Contributing: Kristine Phillips and Samuel Hardiman, Barr: Federal task force made almost 1,500 arrests, Attorney General William Barr says federal officers working alongside local police in the initiative known as "Operation Legend" have helped make nearly 1,500 arrests, including dozens for homicides and other violent crimes. Yet the Memphis law does not apply to federal law enforcement. Remarks by President Trump on Operation LeGend: Combatting … Ultimately, a lot of it gets used to monitor protests.”. “We are on the front lines to resist that.”, Indeed, U.S. Attorney General William Barr has frequently defended Operation Legend by noting that it is a continuation of federal policing efforts, rather than a radical departure from the norm. The press secretary is angry CNN misidentified the man posing as a reporter in the briefing room who cheered for her. "With all due respect to the council, no one's permission is necessary for us to surge these federal resources into Memphis," Dunavant told the council. Memphis Councilwoman Michalyn Easter-Thomas feared that the operation, which deployed about 40 federal agents to the city, had "the potential to go well beyond its scope.". Operation LeGend also has been expanded to Chicago and Albuquerque. “If you live in a neighborhood that has a gun violence problem, not only are you subjected to that, you are also subjected to the surveillance regime that comes along with it.”. Operation Legend and its December precursor, Operation Relentless Pursuit, are both funding surveillance technology in cities across the country. More than 100 people also have been charged with federal crimes in Chicago and St. Louis, while between 16 and 66 people have been charged in the other six cities. But they will leave behind a city flush with grant money for local police — and heightened surveillance capabilities. Barr's announcement comes more than a month after the Trump administration launched the enforcement effort, known as Operation Legend. on about your day, ask yourself: How likely is it that the story you just read would have been produced by a different news outlet if The Intercept hadn’t done it? As recently as Tuesday, officials in Memphis, one of the nine cities included in the operation, expressed their disapproval for the increased federal presence. The federal forces in Portland and D.C. included large contingents of immigration enforcement authorities drawn from the Department of Homeland Security. Other more opaque grants from the Justice Department, like a $1.4 million grant to Shelby County, which surrounds Memphis, in April and a $1 million grant in July to the city of Cleveland, are to be used in part for “technological solutions” or “support” for investigations. Last week, Kansas City, Missouri, authorities announced the arrest of a suspect in the slaying of LeGend Taliferro, a 4-year-old boy for whom the effort was named, after about 200 federal agents had been dispatched to the city. Operation Legend officers are being dispatched from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. The Justice Department announced Thursday that there have so far been "more than 2,000 arrests" across nine Years of federal investment in surveillance have resulted in what Faiza Patel, co-director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program, calls a “layering” effect: “These things don’t come all at once. ShotSpotter does, however, increase police presence in the neighborhoods where it is used — “disproportionately in minority neighborhoods,” according to Mares. operation, legend, crime, … Operation LeGend: Trump Is Sending Feds to More Cities | Teen … The arrest statistics reflect operations in all cities, with the exception of Indianapolis, which was only added to federal effort days ago. It has also funded artificial intelligence-based data repositories, predictive analytics, and social media monitoring tools. His murder is still unsolved. FBI Agents and Resources Support Operation Legend in Nine … Though Mayor Lori Lightfoot at first assumed a hostile attitude toward the initiative, in August she also announced a new task force on looting in partnership with the FBI. Yet the federal government, for years, has funded phone-hacking tools directly. “We knew we were being watched and monitored and surveilled,” said Hunter Demster, an activist who was tracked on social media by MPD. Operation LeGend Will Challenge Cities Trying to Rein In Their … Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images. Operation Legend is a sustained, systematic and coordinated law enforcement initiative in which federal law enforcement agencies work in conjunction with state and local law enforcement officials to fight violent crime. Five cities — Memphis, Cleveland, Albuquerque, Milwaukee, and Detroit — will receive grants to purchase or expand their gunshot detection through the program. The DOJ’s Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program, which emerged in the post-9/11 era of rapidly inflated federal spending on policing, is one of the major grant programs for police and has been criticized for, in effect, funding mass imprisonment. Technologies popular with federal agencies tend to make their way down to the local level. 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