End future funding of Cleveland's federal policing program Operation Legend: Support the Lieu amendment to H.R. 7617

We are asking members of the Cleveland community to ask our congresspeople to support the Lieu amendment to H.R. 7617, which would forbid any federal funding for 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 not from the Cleveland, Ohio area, please sign our national petition here.

--About Federal Police Funding Project: Operation Legend----

Even as thousands march and many advocate for racial justice in Cleveland, all demanding a new vision of public safety, the U.S. Department of Justice decided to include our city in “Operation Relentless Pursuit” (since re-designated as “Operation Legend”), a massive 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). It also includes funding for other BIPOC led major cities: Albuquerque, Baltimore, Detroit, Kansas City, Memphis, and Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Indianapolis.

The Cleveland police department was induced to join this Operation by the offer of a grant of millions of federal dollars to hire additional officers. As a consequence, the Department of Justice now has a squad of federal crime-control agents and also deputized veteran officers from our local police department in our 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 city, 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 saturetes 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.

Thank you-

Resist Operation Relentless Pursuit-Operation Legend Cleveland

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