07.28.20

Baldwin, Evers, Moore, Crowley and Barrett Raise Questions and Seek Answers about President Trump’s Forthcoming Expansion of Federal Law Enforcement Presence in Milwaukee

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett are raising questions and seeking answers about President Trump’s forthcoming expansion of federal law enforcement presence in Milwaukee.

In a letter to Matthew D. Krueger, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin elected officials write:

“We write to express our concerns and seek further information about President Trump’s announcement last week of a forthcoming expansion of federal law enforcement presence in Milwaukee as part of the Department of Justice’s Operation Legend. Given that neither the President nor Attorney General Barr consulted us, as elected leaders for Wisconsin and Milwaukee, about this increased federal presence, it is imperative that we, and the people we represent, receive specific details about the nature of this effort.”     

Baldwin, Evers, Moore, Crowley and Barrett ask for answers to a number of questions regarding the parameters of Operation Legend deployments in Milwaukee and write:

“We want to make it very clear that we do not support anything similar to what we have seen in Portland, Oregon, here in Wisconsin.”

Full text of the letter can be viewed here and below:

 

July 28, 2020

Mr. Matthew D. Krueger                                     
United States Attorney
Eastern District of Wisconsin
517 East Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 530
Milwaukee, WI 53202

United States Attorney Krueger:

We write to express our concerns and seek further information about President Trump’s announcement last week of a forthcoming expansion of federal law enforcement presence in Milwaukee as part of the Department of Justice’s Operation Legend.  Given that neither the President nor Attorney General Barr consulted us, as elected leaders for Wisconsin and Milwaukee, about this increased federal presence, it is imperative that we, and the people we represent, receive specific details about the nature of this effort.     

While we appreciate your statements to press that this action is not in response to protests or civil unrest, the recent conduct of federal agents in Portland, Oregon, has caused great concern in Milwaukee and Wisconsin about the purpose and scope of any expanded federal law enforcement mission in our city and state. We want to make it very clear that we do not support anything similar to what we have seen in Portland, Oregon, here in Wisconsin.

In a time when the relationships between communities and law enforcement are already strained, we believe transparency and accountability, as well as strong collaboration with local government, are critical.  To that end, we request you answer the following questions regarding the parameters of Operation Legend deployments in Milwaukee:

  1. How many federal agents will be part of this deployment and what is the duration of the deployment?  From which agencies? Will any contractors be deputized or utilized?
  2. What are the federal, state and local costs of this expanded operation?
  3. What is the chain of command for these additional federal personnel? Will you supervise the investigations and or other activities to which they will be assigned in Milwaukee?  If not, to whom will they be accountable? 
  4. Where will these federal agents operate? With which state and local law enforcement agencies will they coordinate?
  5. What will their role be?  What training have these officers undertaken in preparation for the duties that have been assigned? What types of crimes will these federal agents be investigating?
  6. Will they at any time be engaged in crowd control or similar activities?  Will they at any time be engaged in the protection of federal property?
  7. What are the legal authorities under which these federal agents will operate? To the extent they are being tasked with either crowd control or the protection of federal property, what authority have they been given to operate on non-federal property, to include the making of arrests, conducting searches, or using force?
  8. To the extent that agents will be detaining or arresting will these federal personnel, and the agencies they represent, be consistently identifiable to members of the public with whom they may interact? 
  9. Can you commit to ensuring the nature of the mission of Operation Legend personnel will not substantially change, including to involve crowd control or similar activities? Will there be prior notice if there are any changes to the mission?

While we were disappointed in the manner in which this program was announced by Attorney General Barr and the White House, we appreciate you speaking to several of us in recent days. We look forward to your prompt response to these questions and working with you to ensure the people of Wisconsin understand the purpose and scope of this operation.  

Sincerely,                                                    

Tammy Baldwin                                                                                  Gwen Moore
U.S. Senator                                                                                      Member of Congress                    

Tony Evers                                                                                         David Crowley
Governor                                                                                           Milwaukee County Executive

Tom Barrett
Mayor of Milwaukee