Senator conservatives are calling for President Joe Biden’s help in fighting the nation’s violent crime wave. They want him to deploy all resources to American cities.
Sens. Marsha Blackburn (Republican-TN) and Bill Hagerty, Republican-TN, asked Biden to use as many federal resources possible to combat a violent crime wave gripping cities.
Blackburn and Hagerty highlight recent Memphis cases where Eliza Fletcher (34-year-old kindergarten teacher) was abducted and killed by Cleotha Absston, a convicted felon.
Ezekiel Kelly, 19, was also arrested in Memphis last week. He is accused of executing seven shootings that killed four Americans. Kelly is believed to have streamed the shootings live on social media.
Blackburn and Hagerty call on Biden to create federal grant programs through Justice Department to directly support law enforcement units fighting violent crimes. They also urge Biden to revive former President Trump’s Operation Legend program, which sent federal officers to cities in order to aid in the arrest and investigation of violent crime.
The letter says:
Your Administration should take at least the following immediate actions:
The Department of Justice should make every effort to prosecute felons who are in possession of firearms as per 18 U.S.C. SS 922(g), and fully use the Armed Career Criminal Act (18 U.S.C. SS 924 (e), with the mandatory 15-year minimum sentences it carries. Also, by adding more Assistant United States Attorneys to these cases. This is an important way to get dangerous repeat offenders off the streets. More prosecutors in Memphis would make a big difference, according to officials. The U.S. Attorney’s Office could also prosecute more federal firearms offenses there each year. [Emphasis added]
Operation Legend was launched by Trump’s Administration in 2020. It was named after a 4-year old boy who was killed in Kansas City by a stray shot. The Operation placed federal law enforcement officers in nine major American towns to assist state and local law enforcement partners in combating violent crime. Between July and December 2020, Operation Legend saw over 6,000 arrests, including 467 for murder, 2,600 illegal firearms, and 17 kilos fentanyl seized. This Operation led to 266 arrests in Memphis. 124 people were charged with federal crimes or narcotics. [Emphasis added]
The Administration should also provide significant federal grant funding to local and state jurisdictions. This money must be used for the hiring of more law enforcement officers, retention bonuses, and acquisition of the necessary equipment and resources to combat violent crime. Anti-law enforcement restrictions should not be used to limit or accompany this funding. The recent attrition of law enforcement agencies across the country has been well documented. We cannot allow a lack in resources to hinder our efforts to fight the continuing crime wave. It should not be difficult to decide whether to fund the police. As President of the United States you should strongly and clearly condemn the individuals and groups that continue to promote defunding the police rhetoric and block federal funding for state and local law enforcement officers. [Emphasis added]
Federal taxpayer dollars should not be wasted on federal jurisdictions that refuse or refuse to use basic public safety tools that prevent dangerous offenders returning to the streets. This includes jurisdictions that ignore the law, refuse to prosecute serious crimes, and jurisdictions that limit the use of pretrial detention and bail, which allows criminals to return to the streets immediately and resume their criminal activities. [Emphasis added]
To stop the spread of drug trafficking, criminal violence and human trafficking across our southern border, the Administration must secure it. A record number of Americans died from drug overdoses in 2021 (107,622). This was due to large amounts of fentanyl being trafficked across the border. Our border was open to record levels, with crossings exceeding 2,000,000 setting an all-time high, though this record will be easily broken in 2022. Your Administration needs to stop denial and ignore this national security crisis that fuels drug trafficking and violent crime across the country. This will prevent hundreds of thousands more American deaths and the crime wave which accompanies them.
Recent mid-year surveys show that violent crime in American cities rose by more than four percent over the first six months 2022. Some cities saw a 36% increase in aggravated assaults and a doubling of murders compared to 2019.
Atlanta, Georgia, has seen murders rise by 20 percent in the first six months of 2011. New Orleans, Louisiana, saw an almost 40 percent increase in murders. This year, murder rates are higher in Texas, Maryland and Arizona than they were last year.