Tuesday, July 21, 2020

On To Chicago

From the Chicago Tribune:

Chicago may see an influx of federal agents as soon as this week as President Donald Trump readies to make good on repeated pledges he would try to tamp down violence here, a move that would come amid growing controversy nationally about federal force being used in American cities.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, for example, is crafting plans to deploy about 150 federal agents to the city this week, the Chicago Tribune has learned.

The Homeland Security Investigations, or HSI, agents are set to assist other federal law enforcement and Chicago police in crime-fighting efforts, according to sources familiar with the matter, though a specific plan on what the agents will be doing — and what their limits would be — had not been made public.

DHS in Washington did not immediately respond to requests for comment, while the Department of Justice indicated an announcement would be forthcoming on an expansion of what has been dubbed Operation Legend, which saw several federal law enforcement agencies assist local police in Kansas City, Missouri, including the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service.

One Immigration and Customs Enforcement official in Chicago, who asked not to be named because they were not authorized to speak on the matter, confirmed the deployment was expected to take place. The official noted that the HSI agents, who are part of ICE, would not be involved in immigration or deportation matters.

Federal agents being used to confront street protesters in Portland, Oregon, has raised alarm in many circles. Chicago, too, has dealt with protests that have led to injuries in recent days.

At an unrelated news conference Monday morning, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she has great concerns about the general possibility of Trump sending feds to Chicago based on what has happened in Portland.

If Trump wants to help, she said, he could boost federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives resources and fully fund prosecutors.

“We don’t need federal agents without any insignia taking people off the streets and holding them, I think, unlawfully,” Lightfoot said.

For those of us of a certain age, violent protests on the streets of Chicago takes us back to 1968 and the demonstrations outside the Democratic convention. At the time, then-Mayor Richard Daley unleashed the Chicago police that led to what the official report from the Walker Commission to conclude that the mayhem on the streets was instigated by the police.

Mayor Daley was spoiling for a fight, basically daring the Yippies and the Poor Peoples’ Campaign to show up and march.  They did, and were greeted by tear gas and batons.   It was shown on national television, split-screen with the convention, and it was exploited by the Republicans in the fall campaign that elected Richard Nixon on a “law ‘n’ order” platform, along with the Southern Strategy to get the white votes who were being wooed by George Wallace, who was running a Trump-like campaign of fear and loathing.

I doubt that Trump is reading the history of the summer of 1968, but someone in his campaign is.

2 barks and woofs on “On To Chicago

  1. I was a student at the U of I, Chicago in 1968. My friends and I, who all lived far north, took pains to avoid Grant Park — we didn’t even go up to the streets when we changed trains in the Loop.

    This is going to be interesting. There is apparently evidence that the looting and violence we have had were planned — whether by the demonstrators or right-wing agitators, no one is saying.

    Needless to say, Chicagoans are not going to react well to having Trump’s gestapo pulling people off the streets at random.

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