US President Donald Trump’s administration has announced that it was sending federal agents to three more cities to deal with what it has called “violent crime”.
Attorney General William Barr said in a statement on Wednesday that the agents are going to Cleveland, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Xinhua reported.
The three cities “have seen disturbing increases in violent crime, particularly homicides,” Barr said.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan tweeted the city believes “there is no lawful basis for Homeland Security intervention in the protests,” or “for any increased presence of Homeland Security agents in our community.”
But he acknowledged the need “to address the unacceptable level of gun violence in Detroit.”
Last week, US President Donald Trump said they were deploying a “surge” of federal agents to Chicago, Illinois, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Wednesday’s announcement came as Oregon Governor Kate Brown and the Trump administration are at odds over the presence of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents in Portland, the largest city of the “Beaver State.”
Demonstrations have continued for weeks in Portland in the wake of the death of African American George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota police custody late May, while law enforcement personnel and protesters have frequently clashed in the city.
“The federal government has agreed to withdraw federal officers from Portland,” Brown tweeted on Wednesday. “They have acted as an occupying force & brought violence.” Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf, however, said in a statement that “federal law enforcement will remain in Portland.”
Less than 100 days until the November elections, Trump has been focusing on a law-and-order message by lashing out at cities run by Democrats.
“If you look at Portland, if you look at what’s going in Seattle — Democrat-run cities, whether you like it or not, they’re terribly run,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday ahead of a trip to Texas. “So either they clean out Portland — the governor and the mayor, who are weak — either they clean out Portland or we’re going in to do it for them.”
The stance has been roundly criticized by Democrats.
During a hearing with Barr on Tuesday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said the Trump administration “has endangered Americans and violated their constitutional rights by flooding federal law enforcement into the streets of American cities, against the wishes of the state and local leaders of those cities”.