* Greg Hinz on the surge of federal agents into Chicago…
[US Attorney John Lausch], various sources tell me, assured [Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a former Lausch colleague at the US Attorney’s office] that, despite media reports, the surge would be not unilateral but cooperative, with agents working with the chain of command in their normal units—the FBI; the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; U.S. Border Patrol, etc.—and in coordination with local authorities. Just like it had in other instances in the past.
Indeed, such surges, including personnel from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, “have happened on many occasions in the past,” says Randall Samborn, a former assistant U.S. attorney who was the spokesman for the Chicago office for many years. […]
He gave a series of media interviews to calm the waters. He got on the phone with key local congressmen, moving to assure them of what the surge would and would not include.
“He said, no, we’re not going to see these agents in the street,” acting as a federal police force, says U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Evanston, one of those, like Quigley, who were on one of the calls. “He wanted to assure us there was no Portland coming to Chicago. He talked about how they were working with (local) law enforcement people.”
* US Senators Durbin and Duckworth also issued a statement…
After needless threats from the President, we’re relieved the Trump Administration says they plan to work with local officials and authorities in Chicago rather than undermine local law enforcement and endanger our civil rights, as their agents have done in Portland. We will continue closely monitoring the Administration’s efforts to ensure they follow through with this commitment.
* Late Friday press release…
Three individuals have been charged with federal offenses for allegedly illegally possessing guns or ammunition in Chicago this week. The charges are the first federal prosecutions in Chicago under the Department of Justice’s Operation Legend. DARRYL COLLINS, 30, of Dolton, is charged with one count of illegal possession of ammunition by a convicted felon, while ROMEO HOLLOWAY, 21, of Chicago, is charged with one count of illegal possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Collins and Holloway were previously convicted of criminal felonies and were not lawfully allowed to possess a firearm or ammunition. DARRYL PHILLIPS, 22, of Chicago, is charged with one count of illegal possession of a machinegun.
All three defendants are currently detained in federal custody.
* But a group of ten state senators is not satisfied…
As federal agents descend on Chicago under direction from the Trump administration, 10 state senators representing districts that include Chicago co-signed an open letter this past weekend to Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, urging them to “immediately cease cooperation with federal agents” who are deployed as part of Operation Legend.
The following state Senators joined more than 60 state, county and city elected officials, labor groups and community organizations in co-signing the letter: Illinois Senate Majority Leader Kim Lightford, Mattie Hunter, Jacqueline Collins, Omar Aquino, Ram Villivalam, Emil Jones, Robert Peters, Heather Steans, Patricia Van Pelt and Celina Villanueva.
“Chicago has more police officers per capita than any other major city in the U.S., but it has not made us the safest city in the U.S. by any measure,” the letter states. “Breaking the cycle of violence means that the city must invest in jobs, housing, schools, and healing, not prisons and police–and definitely not cooperation with a dangerous, racist, and repressive Presidential administration.”
The letter makes clear that the co-signers, “Do not trust any promises that President Trump has made or will make about their deployment.”
Co-signers want the Chicago Police Department and the Cook County Sheriff to immediately cease any existing or planned cooperation with “Operation Legend” federal agents by doing the following:
1. Do not allow DEA, ATF, U.S. Marshals Service, Department of Homeland Security, and FBI agents to use city police or county sheriff property, staff, or other resources, including offices, parking lots, police stations, or the Cook County Jail.
2. Cease all information- and database-sharing with federal law enforcement agencies including DEA, ATF, U.S. Marshals Service, Department of Homeland Security, and FBI.
3. Do not allow federal agents to assume custody of anyone who is being held in custody of the Chicago Police Department or the Cook County Sheriff, including at Cook County Jail.
4. Expand existing sanctuary zones (schools, hospitals, places of worship) to include other city properties, including library and park buildings, where federal agents are not permitted to enter, detain, or interrogate civilians.
The full letter is here.