AG Barr addresses Chicago during Operation Legend press conference
Oh. Good morning. And thank you all for being here, i'm john louch the united states attorney for the northern district of illinois. And i'd like to start, this morning by taking a moment to introduce, you, to my law enforcement, colleagues. Some of whom you will hear from. In a few moments. We're honored to have. Attorney general william barr, here with us today. From the atf. We have acting director, regina lombardo. And the special agent in charge here in chicago. Kristen detinio, is here as well. We also have from the fbi, deputy director, dave bowditch. We also have the special agent in charge of the fbi here in chicago, emerson bowie. Present, as well. From the dea, special agent in charge robert bell is present. And from the u.s marshals service, we have chief deputy. U.s marshal david gellman, and chief inspector, diego, grimaldo. Also up here with me are two other united states attorneys. We have my counterpart, from the northern district of illinois. Tom kirsch. Tom's office in my office, we work together, frequently. On combating, illegal trafficking, of firearms. Across our common border, between indiana and illinois. And finally my colleague justin herdman. Who's the u.s attorney in cleveland, the northern district of ohio, he's here and he's quarterbacking. The department of justice's, nationwide, efforts. On operation, legend. We're here today, to discuss, a critically. Important, topic. Violent crime in chicago. As attorney general barr has made clear. The most basic, responsibility. Of government. Is to protect the safety. Of our citizens. For those of us in law enforcement. Our top priority. Is to keep people safe. For much of this year. Chicago. And many other cities, have experienced. Significant. Unacceptable. And in many instances, staggering. Spikes, in homicides. Shootings. And other violent crime. In response. The attorney general op. Launched. Operation, legend. A systematic. And coordinated, law enforcement, initiative. In which federal law enforcement. Agencies, work, with state and local law enforcement, departments, to fight these crimes. In chicago. We are fortunate to have one of the finest police departments. In the country, the chicago police department. The brave men and women in uniform have worked. Tirelessly. To protect the citizens of chicago. The goal of operation, legend is to reinforce. And to accelerate. Their efforts. To reduce violent, crime. The attorney general has endeavored to do so by sending additional, federal resources, to chicago. Including, a substantial, number of agents, from the atf. Fbi. Dea. And the united states marshal service. The department of homeland security's. Homeland, and security, investigation. Also committed additional agents. Since that time, about seven weeks ago when operation legend began in chicago, on july 22nd. My office, and our federal, and local partners. Have worked together to investigate, and to prosecute. The individuals, who are driving the violence in chicago. The trigger pullers. Drug traffickers. Carjackers. And critically. Those individuals. Who illegally. Possess. Use, and traffic firearms. Fortunately. The significant, investment of resources. Under operation, legend. Has had an immediate, impact. On reducing, homicides. And shootings, in chicago. And the attorney general will speak about that in a few moments. But even with the success, of operation, legend to date. Much work remains, to be done the level of violence in chicago, remains far too high. And it can be demoralizing. Many children, have been senselessly, killed and injured. And while there are many things, that need to be done to help chicago's, violent crime problem.
One Thing that all rational, people, can agree upon. Is that violent offenders. Need to be held accountable, for their crimes. Enforcing, the rule of law, and holding these offenders, accountable. Are essential components, of every, reasonable, strategy, to ensure public safety in chicago. And it is the backbone. Of operation legend. And with that, it is my honor to introduce, attorney general, william barr. Thank you john, and, good morning everybody, thank you for for coming this morning. I'm pleased to be in, in chicago, to address. Uh, the most significant. Threat. Facing this city. The explosion, of violent crime particularly, homicides. In chicago. Earlier, this. Year. Threatened. Not only. Safety. But. This city's way of life. The federal government responded, with operation. Legend. One of the most significant, federal law enforcement, operations. In recent years. We have dedicated. Hundreds, of federal governments, best investigators. Analysts. Fugitive, trackers, and other experts, to work. With our state and local colleagues, in law enforcement. Here in chicago. To help get violent, criminals, off the streets. And i am pleased to report that operation, legend. Is working. Crime is down. And order, is being. Restored. To this great american, city. Operation, legend. Is a vivid illustration. Of what dedicated, law enforcement. Officers, at all levels of government. Can do to keep people. Safe. Unfortunately. Too many people, in too many cities, insist, on. Denigrating. Demonizing. Defunding. Police. Just yesterday, the police chief in rochester. New york. Decided. To retire. Rather, than to stand by while the character, of his police force. Was attacked. Seattle's. Police, chief. Made a similar, decision. Last month. After, the city council decided, to cut the budget. Of her, department. Other cities including new york baltimore, los angeles and san francisco. Have recklessly. Slashed. Police, funding. At a time, when their residents, need protection. More than ever. This is a misguided. And short-sighted. Policy. And i fear the costs, will be devastating. There is no harder, job, in america. Today. And i think no more noble, job than serving, as a police officer. And on behalf of the department, of justice, i want to thank all of those in chicago. And beyond. Who protect, and serve. The increase in violence, that has plagued chicago, and other cities. Is what prompted the department, to launch. Operation. Legend, two months ago, in kansas city missouri. The operation, is named for. Legend, tala ferro. A four-year-old, kansas city boy shot and killed while asleep in his bed. The purpose, of the operation, is to make clear that, his life, mattered. His name should be remembered. And other innocent, victims. Like him. Including the eight-year-old, girl killed, in chicago, on labor day. Should not suffer. Such censored, senseless. Deaths. After starting in kansas, city operation, legend, expanded, to chicago, two weeks later. And is now active in nine. Major. Cities. As part of the operation, the federal government has, dispatched, over one thousand. Of our most skilled, agents to help, state and local law enforcement, fight violent, crime. Over the past two months, federal, agents, involved, in operation. Legend. Have made more than 2500. Arrests. Many for violent, crimes. Including, homicide, and sexual, assault. One of these arrests, came on august, 13th. When kansas city police, with the support, of the fbi, and the u.s, marshals. Arrested, the suspected, murder. Murderer. Of legend, talafero. The four-year-old, boy who inspired, the operation's. Name. In addition to those arrested. The arrest the 2500. Arrests i've mentioned, federal prosecutors.
Have Brought, federal criminal, charges, federal criminal charges, against. 600, defendants. Through operation, legend. Bringing federal charges, is significant. Because, defendants, arrested, for violent, crimes are often, detained. Before, trial. Unlike, state defendants. Who are too often, released. In addition. Federal defendants, will face serious. Sentences, if convicted. With a real possibility. Of long-term. Imprisonment. At the bureau of prisons, facility. Out of state. Knowing that. Many of. The arrestees. Cooperate, with the government. And lead to even more, violent offenders. Such as leaders of gangs, or drug organizations. In short the basic, premise, of operation. Operation, legend. Is that by taking, chronic, violent, criminals, off the street. We will force crime rates, down. And the strategy, is working. Here are a few examples. In kansas city, violent crime, has dropped by 32, percent, since we lost. Launched, operation. Legend, with homicides. Down 18. And aggravated, assault. Down a remarkable, 47. In st louis homicides. Have dropped by 47. Percent. In the four weeks, since operation. Legend began. And more than 120. Defendants. Have already, been charged. Federally. In detroit, homicides. Have dropped, more than 25, percent. And non-fatal. Shootings, have dropped by more than 35. Percent. In the seven weeks, of operation. Legend, in that city. In memphis, homicides, in august. Dropped by nearly 27. Percent. And u.s, marshals, arrested. 47. Persons, wanted for homicide. In milwaukee. Non-fatal. Shootings have dropped, by 25. In the five weeks since the operation. Began. Operation, legends, success, is perhaps, most dramatic, here in chicago. When the operation, was announced, on july, 22nd. Homicides. In the city. Were up, 51, percent. Over, 2019.. Over the previous, weekend, more than 60, people had been shot in chicago. With over. A dozen. Fatalities. Other violent crime including, looting and rioting, was increasing, also. And the signs pointed toward. The problem getting even worse. With the campaign, to demonize, and defund the police. Gaining traction. And criminals, increasingly, believing.
That They could operate, with impunity. What we committed to chicago. In connection, with operation, legend. 400, federal agents. Nine. Over nine million dollars, of grant money to the police under our cops program which allowed the police. To bring in 75. More, positions. And 3.5. Million, in, technical, assistance. To support, the expanded. Anti-crime. Operations. Together. Federal state and local law enforcement. In chicago. Working as part of operation. Legend, and our. Joint task forces. Have reversed. That dangerous, spike in violence. Federal agents, and deputy u.s, marshals, along with state and local task force, task force officers. Have made more than 500, arrests. Many for violent crime like homicide, sexual, assault, and robbery. And federal prosecutors. Have charged. Federal charges. 124. Defendants. Including, 90, with firearms, related. Charges, and 30 with drug trafficking, related, charges. Many of those defendants, are now detained. Pending, trial, rather than causing, harm, on the streets. The results, of those actions, speak for themselves. Over the first five weeks of operation, legend in chicago. Murders, dropped by 50, percent. Over the previous, five, weeks. August, ultimately, saw a 45, percent, decrease, in murders. Compared to july. And the 35. Decrease. Compared to june. In fact. Chicago, in august, so the lowest number of murders. At any time since, april. The bottom line, is that operation, legend, has played a critical, role. In cutting chicago's. Murder rate. Roughly in half. Since before the operation. This progress. Has come, at a price. Tragically, an officer in cleveland. Who has partic, participated. In operation, legend, was killed. In the line of duty. On his first day with operation, legend. He was an experienced. Detective. Who had volunteered, for the program. And he was investigating. Gangs, particularly, those involved. In drug trafficking. His sacrifice. Is a reminder. That it takes a special kind of courage. To sign up as a police, officer. All of us mourn his loss, and we will carry on his legacy, by continuing. The good work. In operation, legend. Not only in cleveland. But here in chicago, and beyond. I thank the state and local law enforcement, partners, here in the chicago, area. Who have helped. Make this operation. Successful. And i look forward to continuing.
To Work together. In the days ahead. Thank. You. Good morning. The commitment to justice. And upholding, the law, and protecting, and representing, all, is at the heart, of our nation. This year, we have faced challenges. And in adversity. We must not succumb to fear. Tragically, in chicago. And many other cities. One of those challenges. Has been the intolerable, spike. Of violent crime, particularly. Firearm, violence. Atf, has responded. Faithful, to its core mission. Protecting, our communities. From violent crime. I stand here today, on behalf of the brave men and women of atf. Along with my colleagues from the department of justice, led by attorney general barr. U.s attorney, john lausch. Tom kirsch. Justin herdman. And my friend and colleague from the fbi. Deputy director. Dave bowditch. We stand here today to reiterate. Our unequivocal, commitment. To honor the lives. Of legend telefaro. And all of the victims and families. From byron that had died from firearm violence. Bringing to justice the trigger pullers. Who terrorize, our neighborhoods. Like in chicago. And the traffickers, who fuel. The violence, by illegally, supplying, them with guns. There is no higher mission for atf. And our law enforcement, partners. Than to protect, the public. From violent criminals. That is the purpose, of operation, legend. We are in chicago. We are in other legend cities working with the communities, to identify. Investigate. And prosecute, those, who inflict pain. And destruction. By engaging, in firearm, violence. We do this, with the promise to uphold the rule of law, with the fairness, that reinforces. The dignity, of all community, members. Most particularly. The victims, and their families. Every day across the country atf, special agents and industry, operations, investigators. Pursue criminals. Who illegally. Use and possess. Guns. That firearms. At trafficking, organizations. That illegally, supply. Those guns to thieves who also steal those guns, federally, from licensed dealers. We are committed to removing the most violent. Firearm. Offenders, from our communities. And is most critical. To dismantle, those firearms, trafficking, networks. The gangs and organizations. That fuel the violence. And interdict, those firearms, before. They are used in crimes. One of the ways that we ensure, that we stay focused, on the most violent, criminals.
The Actual, shooters. Is by using, forensic, science. Particularly. Atf's. National, integrated. Ballistic, image. Sorry, ballistic, information. Network we commonly refer to it as nibin. Kniven, allows us to use shell casings, from recovered. Shooting scenes to specific, firearms. And to other shooting incidents. We know this from decades of experience. That a relatively, small number of offenders. In our communities are responsible. For multiple, shootings. By generating, prompt. Actionable, leads, nyman allows atf, and our partners to identify. Investigate. And apprehend, the shooters. Before. They reoffend. One of the tools that we use, we've deployed, right here in chicago. Is our mobile command, center. The mobile command center is a con is configured, to process, ballistic. Evidence. Within, hours, of a shooting. To support the chicago, police, laboratory, facility. It contains, niven acquisition, imaging units, a test fire room to obtain ballistic, samples. And is equipped to facilitate. The processing, of fingerprints. Dna. From recovered, shell casings, and firearms. Since. Its deployment, in chicago. The mobile command center, has processed, at least. 288. Shell casings. Generating, over 50, leads. These are investigative. Leads. To solve, gun crimes. We have also one of the ways to eliminate. And to really be effective. Is, here in chicago, is by providing, our national. Correlation. Center. Access. We bring that to the chicago, police department. Almost without, exception within 48, hours chicago, police department, can enter shell casings, into nibin. Our correlation, center completes, the correlation, analysis. That can link multiple, shooting incidents. Or link a recovered, shell casing, to a specific, firearm. Our correlation, center's 48, hour turnaround, time is essential. To providing, timely leads, so that investigators. Can identify. And apprehend. The shooters, who are driving the grim statistics. Chicago, is combating. And as the attorney general emphasized. Our combined, efforts are working. Operation, legend investigators. Are working, around the clock. We have seized more than 500, firearms, in nine cities.
Including, 200. In chicago, alone. We are on the streets. Making cases. Watching our partners, backs. Holding the line. And holding accountable. Those who terrorize, our communities. You don't have to be in law enforcement, to know that this is dangerous, work. Our entire, atf, workforce, has answered the call to protect, and serve. This, is atf's, mission. We are committed. As we took a note to protect the united states. And uphold, our constitution. We serve you. We serve the communities. And we serve your neighborhoods. We are here to ensure, that you are safe. Thank you. Director. Thank you. Good morning. As attorney general barr noted. Our nation, has made great progress, against violent crime but it still plagues way too many of our communities. And those of us in law enforcement. Cannot, rest. While any american, lives in fear in their own home. Or certainly in their own neighborhood. The violent crime threat we face today. Is very diverse. It's very dangerous. And it's much too all-encompassing. For any one agency. Be it state local or federal, to tackle, alone. This is why the attorney general has launched operation, legend. Well every agency, here today, that's represented, has a different role, and, responsibility. Fighting violent crime, is a responsibility. And a duty. That we all share. It's one team, and one fight that's why operation. Legend, was established, to marry the resources. Of the federal government. To assist. In tackling. The rise in violent crime. In many cities throughout the u.s. By combining, the resources, of all these players. We believe we can have a lasting, impact and make our communities, safer. Operation, legend reflects, that team approach. And the men of the women, and and the men and women, of the fbi, are committed. Just as our partners. Are committed. To meeting this challenge. Through our violent, crimes. And gangs safe streets task forces. The fbi and our partners, bring to the table. What we do best. Prior to and even more so throughout this operation. We continue, working closely, with our federal state and local partners. To combine our expertise. Our knowledge and our resources. To identify. Investigate, and prosecute. Those responsible, for the violent crimes, occurring in our cities. The fbi's, focus, is on targeting, the overall, leadership, structure. Of our gangs, and our criminal enterprises. That drive. The scourge of violent crimes. In many of our communities. What we bring to the table is the ability to target, some of the most violent offenders in the short term. While pursuing, a long-term, strategy, to dismantle. Criminal enterprises, and gangs. The bureau has already, dedicated, significant. Resources. And leveraged our partnerships. In cities chosen. For operation, legend. We've searched additional resources, to help further reduce, violent crime in operation, legend for example.
Right Here in chicago. We brought in 60. Fbi, special agents in addition, to what was already assigned, here to those already assigned, here. We also, searched, analytical, resources. And data exploitation. Personnel, to help in those investigations. Many of these folks have left their own communities. To come and work side by side, with the fbi, agents the atf, agents the chicago, police department, and other agencies, that are here, they left their own families in their own homes because they want to help, and they want to be here to help chicago, in any way. We've done this to help investigate, and take the worst, offenders off the street, and with the hope. That we can cripple, some of these organizations. Out there. This effort includes, agents. Intelligence, analysts, digital. Evidence, experts. And personnel, from field offices, across the country, all working together to reduce. Violent crime. To keep people safe and to find and stop, dangerous, criminals. Through law enforcement, actions. Digital, forensics. Mapping, trends. Tips, hotlines. Digital billboards. Social media. Press releases, and the like. It's a true team effort, which cannot, be accomplished. Through the law enforcement, partnerships. Alone. It also needs, the hard work of the community. But i will tell you this, there are a lot of hard work hard-working, assistant, united states attorneys. Throughout this country. That are side by side with these investigators. Trying to help curtail the violence in many of these communities. And we're already seeing real results. Many of those have been have been discussed, already so i won't go through those. We have had hundreds, of cases. Arrests. And seizures. Which have been made across, the country, in op legend, already. Last week alone in. Between, august 31st, and september. 7th the fbi, alone. Opened 50 cases. We made 18 arrests and recorded, recovered, 46, weapons. That's in one week. Investigating. Violent crime is a 24, 7, 365. Day a year job. That we do not take lightly. I am confident, that with our partners, working close together. We will continue to make progress against these violent crimes. And progress that they make, the american, people. Both expect. But more importantly. That progress that they deserve. So i want to talk now to those who are responsible, for the violence. If you are responsible. For the violence. And you hear nothing else it said hear this. We will bring down the full weight. Of the federal government. And in our case the fbi. To address your violent acts. If you are convicted, in federal court. It's very unlikely, you're going to walk in the front door and out the back. If you are convicted. Federal time in court, is 85, percent. Minimum time served. To the citizens, of chicago. The attorney general has used the word will. If we accept this as status, quo. That is not going to make any progress. If we have the will. To pursue, and endeavor, throughout, these challenges, i believe we can accomplish, a lot. That will, is being led by the attorney general, and all the agencies, here. But it also needs the will. Of the community. We're asking the citizens, of chicago. To trust, us. Pick up the phone and provide the information, we need to help solve. Crimes of violence which are plaguing. Your communities. And our communities. In short we are trying to instill confidence, in the system. And i'm asking you to trust us, and with that i talk to you about tips i'm going to leave you with a tip line. If you have information, about significant, violent crime. I would ask you to please call 1-800. Call, fbi. Or. Send us an e-tip. Online, at. Tips.fbi.gov. Thank you. Okay so we'll take some questions, now, mr attorney general welcome to chicago, thank you i wonder if you could, comment on just two things, uh on september, the 1st president, trump. Said and i'll read you a quote he said we've already conducted more than one thousand arrests in our first month in chicago. Chicago, was a total disaster. With a radical left democrat. In charge. Number one. There's a difference, in the number of arrests from what you've announced i think you said, 124. Versus. The thousand that the president claims well. So, u.s, marshals. Make arrests. On based on state warrants, and then turn those individuals. Over to the state for state, charges. The number i gave you were for those. Federal. Who were charged, federally. Do you share the president's, view, that the problems, of violence, in chicago, are, related to the leadership, of the city. The mayor. And the president, has also singled out the governor of illinois. In making those comments well you know i'm not going to. Comment on the specifics, here in illinois, or chicago, in terms of the leadership.
But, I'll just say generally, that, i've observed. The most important ingredients, to maintaining. Safety, and dealing with violent, crime. Is a strong police, force, a d.a. That is. Oriented, toward taking, violent offenders, off the street. The backing. Of the law enforcement, community, by the political, leaders both the mayor and the governor. And and when those are in place. Then i don't think we will be seeing the increases, in crime that we've seen recently. I think. The increases, in crime. May be a number of. Factors, involved but part of it is the emboldening. Of the. Criminal, elements, the chronic offenders. And the. Perhaps withdrawal. Of the police. In in the wake of the attacks, on the police. So i think it's very important. To support. The police department, and the chief of police in these, cities, do you believe the mayor and the governor have not been dead. I'm not going to comment, on that i think, we've, we've uh i think the the mayor. And maybe uh. You know i can ask the u.s attorney, but. My understanding, is that the mayor and the and the president, talked, uh. The president, discussed, legend, and our desire to come in and to help with operation, legend. And she said she would accept, the help and so. She approved us coming in and providing, this assistance, i know the u.s attorney had discussions, with her about it. So, this is all about working in partnership, with state and local, and, that partnership, is, working well right now. Sir what about the local states certainly or local judges and you've been talking about, taking. Offenders, off the street are you in part kind of putting this, at the feet of the station. I think unfortunately, in our country and i think that's the case here at illinois. The system. Uh. Of justice. State justice, is going. Back to a revolving, door system, that we had earlier. You know the, 1992. Was the peak of violent crime in the united states, it had trebled, over the preceding, 30 years, it just shot up. Three times. To 92, and then it's, it's been halved. Since 92, and part of that process. Was stopping, the revolving, door. And having pre-trial, detention, of people who still posed a threat to the community. A lot of states are now pulling back from that. And i do think that. I think maybe john could give you some specific. Examples. But. Uh. Nowadays. A lot of these. Hoodlums, on the street, feel that have impunity, to carry their guns out on the street they don't hide them anymore. And use it you know pick them up when they think they're going to need them but they just carry them as a matter of course. Because they think they can do it with impunity, and they'll be in the front door and out the back door if, under the state system. And i think that one of the reasons, why federal support. At this stage is so important, is because we have stronger, laws in this regard. You know there's a lot said about community, policing. That's sort of one of the buzz words out there oh we just need more community, policing, well what isn't discussed, and what people have to understand. Is there is an, essential. Prerequisite. For a community, policing. Program. And that is pre-trial, detention. Because. People in the community. And this, i think any any police, chief. Who's been involved in law enforcement, i saw this back in 92. Will tell you that people in the community will not come forward, and engage with the police. If they feel that infor that someone, about whom they've given information. Is going to be right back out on the street. They need to know that when the police take someone away they're not going to be there the next day, to retaliate. So in new york for example. Which had one of the best, community, policing. Programs, in the country. It's just an amazing, program. It's essentially, falling apart right now because of the changes made in state law, on bail reform. Where people are just out on the street almost instantaneously. And their lawyers, get access. To the information, provided, to the police that served as the basis, for the arrest. So. That community, police, policing, program, is is, is. Drying, up it's broken. So. I'm all for community, policing but people have to recognize. You have to keep. The violent offenders, off the street, otherwise you will not get the cooperation. Of the community. Does that answer your question. Yes. So you mentioned when uh the operation, first started the amount of arrests you all have made. The streets. The, murder rate and shooting. As you mentioned right around. The time well right now. Is still. About 52, percent compared to the same time, last year. Is it, a little premature. To, say that, this is for sure, working and taking. Uh driving down the violence rate here in chicago. Too early to say that or do you feel confident. That the work that we're doing is making significant, strides.
Well, No i'm confident, that, that the work we're doing, is. Uh improving, the situation. Uh. But but. I've gone. Down. It has gone down. It has gone down. It's half of what it was the preceding, month. And it's the lowest murder rate since april. So, you know we're starting from a very high level. Uh, and, uh. You know it'll take some time to get it to get it down to uh. You know. Perhaps. What. Would you say. Yeah no i i would agree with that i mean very, very clearly operation, legend helped, it helped stop what we were seeing were increases, in homicides, month after month after month, you've obviously seen the data, may june july. It was getting, out of control. And it dropped in august. Dropped by half, in in one month so, i do think there's a correlation, and it's a correlation, we're seeing across all our cities right now. All of the cities are going down the homicide, rates and the violent crime rates. Now uh, you know we're obviously going to continue, to watch. What happens, and uh, adjust. Uh, our activity, based on that. I'm sorry you had a question, yeah thank you. Often would um, check chicago, it's bloody gun violence. Uh, mayor lightfoot, and our former mayor emanuel, would respond, that if he seriously wanted to help, he would send in more federal resources. And when the former, attorney general sessions, did temporarily. Send a few dozen. Federal agents here they seem to be welcomed. Very warmly, at that time. What took your office so long. What took my office so long. So long to do what. You know you're i i describe what the genesis, of of legend, was. Uh, which was. With the co. Before, coved, we started seeing. Violence, upticking, in a number of cities nowhere near the level it got to, most recently. And we tried to launch, a program, called relentless, pursuit. And. Then the covet hit almost. At the same time we were mobilizing, the agents to go into the cities so. That program was effectively, aborted. In the meantime. With the. Incident, with, with, george floyd. And, the, attacks on the police, and the demonization. Of the police, and, discussions, of defunding. We saw sharp increases, in a number of cities including, chicago. And so, at that point. We essentially, rebooted. The idea. Of. Targeting, various, cities, and targeting, the increases, in violent, crime, and sort of tailored, it to the, to the phenomenon. We were seeing in the in the wake of. Of the defund, the police, effort. And. Chicago, didn't meet all the criteria. That we had been looking, for, in in cities, but given the, visibility. Of of chicago. And the very high levels of homicide, we decided, we would include.
Chicago. And, uh. I'm glad we did because it seems to be bearing. Bearing fruit. But. You know i think a lot of the public, commentary. As we launched this program, was that cities didn't want federal, help. But now you're telling me that. We're welcomed with open arms. That's news to me. Around the country, but as i said. Mayor, lightfoot, did agree to. Uh, and and. Seemed. Happy that we were coming in. Sir. President trump does seem to suggest at times that he has a quick fix for his violent crime in chicago, that. Kind of overnight or within a week. Do you know what he's talking about is involving the national guard is it this. Well i think. I think it's important, this is a distinction, that the media doesn't. Frequently, make but they're in in my mind and i think the mind of most people in law enforcement, there's a distinction, between addressing. Violent, crime, which is what legend, is about. And. Addressing, civil unrest. And, you know some of the violence. That we've seen. In conjunction, with, with uh supposed, protests. And, uh. I think he's talking about the latter, in that, which is, that there you know you can you can. Deal with. Uh the occupation. Of areas, in the city, and you can deal with the sieging. Of, various, government, buildings. You know with, dispatch. I don't think he's talking about. Eliminating. Violent crime that way. Dispatch meaning, quickly. Well it depends on it depends on the circumstances. There's some places, where. State, resources, are completely, adequate, even state. Civilian. Law enforcement. Resources. Can be completely, adequate, it depends on the circumstance. The size of the demonstration. And the size of the. State's assets. And then. We can also use civilian, federal, assets, as we have in some places. Yes how many of those 400, agents. Are, new bodies, on the ground. Here in chicago. So i would say. We already have a large number, of law enforcement, working, in chicago, um. At a minimum. There were a hundred new. Fbi. Atf. And dea, agents that came in. There were. Several, dozen. Repurposed, homeland security, agents as well. And the same with the united states marshal service, so. Um. You know it is it's hundreds. Of new people who came in to help and to work directly, with the people that were already here beforehand. I think there were 200. New bodies, of the 400. And the other 200, were repurposed. From the other work they were doing and shifted, to. Violent, crime. Yes, sorry my question is a little bit off topic i apologize, for that but, you need to ask about, his carol. And uh how the president was acting in his official. Capacity be, denied, knowing her. And also why the american, taxpayers, might be on the hook for the damages. Okay so, this has to do with something called the westfall. Act. That is an act that provides. That. When. Tort cases, state, court cases, are brought against. Government, employees. In the executive, branch, and in the legislative. Branch. And the tort. Was allegedly. Committed, in the course, of. Federal, employment. The case can be, certified. For. Shifting, to the federal, courts, and the united states, can be substituted. As the responsible. Party. This has. Become somewhat. Routine, to the extent, that the certification. Process, has been delegated, to an attorney. In the tort section, of the civil division, of the justice, department. The process. Involves the employing, agency, which in the case of a president. Has, been the white house. Sending in a memorandum, requesting. Certification. That process, was followed. In this particular. Case. The case law is crystal clear. That the westfall, act applies, to claims against the president, the vice president, as well as other federal employees. And members of congress. There's case law in d.c. It has been invoked. By, previous, presidents, including. Most recently. Bush 43. Vice president, cheney, president, obama. And now president, trump. The case law is, very clear. And there's a d.c, circuit case called ballinger.
On The topic. That says, that. Because we are a representative. Democracy. Officials, who are elected. And answer, press questions. While they're in office. Even if those questions, relate, to their, personal, activity. And could bear upon their personal, fitness. Is in fact, in the course, of federal employment. And can be. Therefore. Certified. Under the westfall. Act. The case, in that. Situation, was a congressman. Who. Uh, was answering questions. About why he had separated, from his wife. And he was sued for defamation. Because of something he said in that answer. And so the court. Said that, elected, officials, in our in our uh. Democracy. Representative, democracy. When they're answering, questions, in office. Even about personal, affairs. Any defamation. Claim. Is subject to westfall. So this was a. Normal, application. Of the law, the law is clear. It is, done frequently. And. The. Little tempest, that's going on is is largely, because. Of, the bizarre. Political, environment, in which we, live and the. Uh. You know the uh. Well i'll just leave it at that, yeah. As they always are under westfall, that's the statute. That's the statute. The funds. That have so far been. Collected. By, operation, license. Any idea, as to how many of them were acquired, illegally. That, any statistics. Availed on that yet where they're coming from, i'll ask at, uh, gene at the atf, to. See if she has any more specific, information, but i know. That, a number of the cases, because i was looking over some of the cases, here. And a number of the cases, relate to straw, purchasers. Uh. Who were, you know, going out and gathering, guns for gangs. Uh so i know that that's one of the areas that atf, has been targeting. I can comment a little bit on that. We have. We look at the patterns, of the trafficking, factors. When we recover crime guns here in. Chicago, we trace that weapon. But we find that many of the weapons, that are either. Purchased. Maybe lawfully. But also, go into, unlawful, commerce, by. Trafficking. Organizations. Many of the, we call the pipeline, of weapons, that are, being seen, recovered, here in chicago, do come from other states. Some come from the milwaukee, area. Every state has a different. Source, but particularly. For chicago, we see a lot of that trafficking, patterns. So we have a, what we call a trafficking, group we focus, primarily, on. Those in particular. Source, states. To cut that pipeline, down, when the firearms are recovered, here we trace them to the last known purchaser. The, firearms trace gives us what we call from cradle to grave where the firearm, was purchased. And where it ended up and we tried to fill in the blanks and ivan kind of gives us the life of crime it led in between that time. So we do see, we call straw purchasing. Uh. Lion and trying, lion and buy-in so those are all part, also part of our guardian.
Project Guardian. Aspect which is we're looking at, uh, going after those traffickers, particularly. In, uh to cut that pipeline of weapons coming into chicago so that's what we're predominantly. Seeing. Uh and that is also allowing us to put resources, there, in our source states because i believe if we cut the pipeline, of weapons. We would have uh what we call a little bit less of the use of those weapons so that's what we're seeing, uh primarily. Is our trafficking groups are giving us. That. Are you surprised, i read about how that you're actually, tracking, guns, that have been used in specific. Crimes, and then are you, surprised, how active, some of these guns. Have been, in a short time period. Actually that was something i was going to, add to what gina said which is. This niben. Technology. Which the atf, deploys, and brings into the, brings in extra resources, with these mobile units, are amazing. Because they can. Take a shell, and link a gun that was used in one crime to other crimes. And i think most. Police chiefs will tell you. That in their city. They could tell you. Sit down and make a list. Of the people who are responsible, for most of the shooting, in their mind they think that you know the suspects. Uh. And usually a, relatively. Manageable, group or a modest, group is responsible, for a disproportionate. Number of the shootings, so it doesn't surprise, me. That, uh, you can find a gun and then tie it to a lot of. Different shootings, i've seen, i've seen this done and it's really remarkable. And, deny ben technology. Is a game changer. For, you know in in the in the old days. To, take the chronic violent offenders, off the street you had to cast, a broader, net, now you can. Figure out exactly, who's doing the shooting, but. Yeah i was going to add, we we call that fishing with a spear. As opposed to a net. Many times, the shell casings. Like something similar to this, are recovered, on the street so we take the shell casing we put it through our knife and system. It makes a correlation. It's almost like a thumbprint, a fingerprint. That you would do as a comparison. Uh our shell casings, are compared, to, different shooting scenes, as well as the actual. Uh, firearms, at this, one shell casing, which is unique to each firearm so that's really been a game changer for us, and putting all of that in a uh. In a mobile unit right now here in chicago, is really what's been helping chicago police departments, laboratories. Because we can do that now in a 48-hour, turnaround, time. Those leads that are coming out were generated. Investigators. Get that lead, and that's a lead to a potential homicide, or an assault. We take those leads we give it to our investigators. Our chicago, crime gun strike force. And that's where we we go to work. We always say the technology, is, you know great, we have the tools. Uh to to do some of the things that we do but it takes the what i say the carpenter. That builds the house so that's where our special agents. Uh with all the law enforcement, organizations, working together so, it's the shell casing that's allowing us to make those connections. Take one more mr attorney general just a quick question just another thing well i think that. Did you you asked one earlier. I have one little question i didn't get to ask my main question, i'll let belty ask your question, thank. Okay, so criminal, you know we watch we see big ships, month to month, up and down, over the years this is this is not something unusual. July, is as you mentioned. It was, i mean it was the highest. It was the worst july since. At least 1957. As far back as the records go but we've seen other big ships. Month them on so what i'd like you know what i'm what i'm hearing is that you're, crediting. This drop. To the federal agents and the federal initiative and what i want to know is how many of those murders can you credit to, well i mean that's an absurd, that is an absurd, question, and, what i i did not. Attribute it entirely. What i said is i believe, that, it was an important, part of that drop. And if you want to maintain, that taking. Fugitives, off the street who are armed and already have committed, homicide.
Known Gang members. And, persons who are correlated, to, guns, that have committed, murders in the past. At the numbers and rates we are doing that. Uh. Not only the federal charges but all the state, people that we've delivered over to the state. If you don't think that that has an impact on violent, crime i think that's a much harder proposition. To maintain. Yes mr attorney general. I've covered, dozens. Of press conferences, in this building with federal authorities, in the chicago police standing side by side. Chicago, police are not here today. Right, what is the reason for that and why were. They not included in this unified, message. You know. They were certainly, invited, and could have attended, but. One of the odd things about. Our program in this city are you know the some of the politics, involved, i'm sure that was an element, of it. I think you'll have to ask the mayor and, the. Police. They were invited, and, they did not come. Yes. Am i right about that, that's correct. Yeah. I i'm later, spending time with the chief. And going on a. Drive around with him, so. But. I know that, the city has put out. Information, about the drop in crime. And is crediting, a number of. Factors. Absent among those factors, is. The. Federal contribution. So. Just the way things roll here in chicago. So that would seem to indicate there's still a disconnect. Between, this this initiative. And the cities. I you know i'm not, i'm not focused, on the on the, those aspects, of it i'm focused, on the, law enforcement. Working together, the professional, law enforcement, approach and actually. Getting the job done, and. Politicians. Can, do what they want to do. Okay. Yeah, to be very clear there is no disconnect, between federal law enforcement and the chicago police department, we work together. All the time they are very supportive, of all of our efforts and we are thrilled to help them fight violent crime. Law enforcement, to law enforcement level, things are going very well i can assure you that. Thank you thank you very much, thank. You. Good one phil. As usual. Thank you so much, thank you, thank. You.