Stop federal police funding of Operation Legend: Support the Lieu amendment to H.R. 7617
We urge those concerned about over-policing and surveillance of BIPOC communities in the United States to help us end the Trump/Barr sponsored Operation Legend: a federal police funding program that poured $73 million into the cities of Albuquerque, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Memphis, and Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Indianapolis to hire more police officers and increase surveillance technology targeting Black and Brown neighborhoods
This letter will ask your congresspeople to support the Lieu amendment to H.R. 7617, which would forbid any federal funding for these joint federal task force operations. The amendment was sponsored by Ted Lieu in the 2021 House appropriations bill, and reads, “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used for Operation Legend or Operation Relentless Pursuit.”
We urge our Senators and Congresspeople to support this amendment as the Senate and House move into conference for a final bill, as the current resolution expires December 11 and the full appropriations bill is due that day.
If you are from the Cleveland, Ohio area, we have a petition specifically about how Operation Legend has impacted your community, so please sign that petition.
--About Federal Police Funding Project: Operation Legend----Even as millions marched for police reform and many advocate for racial justice across the United States in 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice rolled out “Operation Relentless Pursuit” (since re-designated as “Operation Legend”), a massive, well-funded joint federal task force effort combining resources of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Nine police departments were picked as targets by this program--all in cities with significant BIPOC communities, including Albuquerque, Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Memphis, and Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. The cities were offered millions of federal dollars to hire additional officers to target "violent crime" amid the Black Lives Matter uprisings and Trump's re-election campaign on "Law and Order." Most of these cash strapped cities accepted the funds.
As a consequence, the Department of Justice now has a squad of federal crime-control agents and also deputized veteran officers from local police departments in each city. These federal police follow federal dictates administered by our U.S. Attorney’s Office in “crackdowns” that target already over-policed neighborhoods. Additionally, these grants also funded “mission-critical” surveillance technology in our cities, which our residents know will be used in illegal invasion of their privacy, with information stored for indeterminate amounts of time and used for whatever reasons the federal government wants. This is illegal and unethical--and it must stop.
Joint federal task forces are nothing new. Decades of public media and scholarship have shown the dismal record of federal task force misconduct: Task force-style policing saturates already over-policed Black and Brown communities and creates conditions for mass arrests--often under trumped up charges, using excessive force, with horrific mistaken identity raids---and does nothing to eliminate crime. It only inflates arrest numbers, which means tearing our neighbors from their homes and away from their families and jobs.
Furthermore, police working under federal authority are not subject to state or local ordinances or regulations intended to prohibit misconduct, even those imposed by consent degrees resulting from federal misconduct investigations, and they are often shielded against efforts to gain accountability in the courts because they blur the line between state and federal authority.
Find out more about why we resist Operation Legend here at our Factsheet. We will not rest until community safety is reimagined to include all of us, and no longer penalizes people based on there race, ethnicity, immigration status, gender, sexuality, ability, class or any other intersection that makes them vulnerability to over-policing.
Yours in solidarity-
Resist Operation Relentless Pursuit-Operation Legend National Campaign