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Despite assurances, ten state senators want Chicago and Cook County to “immediately cease cooperation with federal agents”

Monday, Jul 27, 2020 - Posted by Rich Miller

* 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.



  1. - fs - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 1:32 pm:

    One justification asserted by many legislators for the State to license gun dealers was that the Feds weren’t doing there job to adequately regulate firearms in this State. Now the Feds step up their enforcement of those laws in the State, and some of the same Senators who voted for that bill for those reasons are telling the Feds to not do their job. What a joke.

  2. - Stuff Happens - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 1:32 pm:

    This may be the plan right now, but I don’t think they’ll stick to it if things don’t get better. Seems like a wolf in sheep’s clothing scenario.

    Trump has been complaining about Chicago violence for at least two years, so if he federal agencies get a foot in the door he’s going to want to show progress that he can crow about. If that means changing their role to something more ‘hands-on’, so be it.

  3. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 1:33 pm:

    == Thoughts?==

    Oy with the knee-jerk reactionism. Cease all data sharing? C’mon man. I know it’s an election year and all, but you can’t just turn down offers for help and then complain about the crime problem until November. As long as trump‘s BORTAC thugs aren’t kidnapping citizens off the street, some of this assistance could prove extremely helpful to overburdened LEO’s

  4. - Donnie Elgin - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 1:38 pm:

    I guess they forgot their oath of office.

  5. - Huh? - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 1:38 pm:

    fs - disagree. The fear is that the feds won’t keep their word, and a Portland like situation will develop.

    Given the disingenuous and animosities of tramp, I understand the fears of the politicians who signed the letter.

  6. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 1:42 pm:

    last week I was reprimanded for claiming most Americans….’. My question. What do most Chicagoans think of this.

  7. - 62401 - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 1:43 pm:

    Is resisting or obstructing federal law enforcement personnel a crime?

  8. - fs - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 1:44 pm:

    == fs - disagree. The fear is that the feds won’t keep their word, and a Portland like situation will develop.==

    So you don’t want local authorities to coordinate with the fbi and atf? Because of Portland where neither of those agencies are really at the center of that? And you want local authorities to not just not cooperate, but directly prevent them from doing their jobs via “sanctuary” enforcement? Good luck attempting to do that, which would itself be a violation of Federal law, and enjoy the arrest that should result from that.

  9. - 44th - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 1:49 pm:

    Let feds and city/state work it out agency to agency. We have enough problems, dont need to pit any more people against each other. Feds starting to put gun violators into Federal system. Lets clean up the streets. We don’t need the Portland conflicts here. We have enough problems. Time to unite and come together at least locally? Please.

  10. - Cheryl44 - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 1:49 pm:

    I’m a Chicago resident and I don’t want these people here. I don’t trust them to work in the best interests of the residents of this city.

  11. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 1:55 pm:

    You can’t, with any credibility, claim there is a crisis in policing and criminal justice and think that there answer is the feds. The same poisonous tree. Good for the senators.

  12. - 4 percent - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 1:56 pm:

    Ridiculous. Allow more shootings and deaths to occur in their districts because they don’t like the President.

  13. - Captain Obvious - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 2:00 pm:

    Cheryl - don’t blame you. Your city and county police are doing a marvelous job keeping you safe. You should absolutely be wary of the feds. You don’t need their kind up there. And keep voting democrat. They really have a handle on public safety. Why before you know it, they’ll have hundreds of social workers on the job to keep you safe on the streets. You will soon be free of the equivalent of a mass shooting each and every weekend so keep the faith sister…

  14. - NSJ - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 2:01 pm:

    Truly pathetic. Do pols just scrape Twitter for their talking points these days?

  15. - Dee4Three - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 2:03 pm:

    There is no doubt that the feds and local officials have a long history of coordinating on public safety issues. With that said, you’d have to be willfully ignorant of the goings-on of the world to not understand these legislators’ concern here; this administration has done their all to politicize Chicago violence and use federal intervention in Portland to score political points. Are these legislators are off base for being worried that Lightfoot can control what seems to be the clear primary desire of federal leadership, win votes v. save lives?

  16. - Last Bull Moose - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 2:05 pm:

    I distrust Trump and do not believe the stated interventions will have much effect.

    It is still worth working with the Federal Agencies involved. If it blows up, then we can act to change what happens.

  17. - Enviro - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 2:05 pm:

    Yes, the city of Chicago must invest in jobs, housing, and schools. Until that can be accomplished Chicago will need the help of the Feds to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe.

  18. - Dee4Three - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 2:07 pm:

    The leadership in Washington has shown all types of bad faith on this issue, please excuse these Senators for not sticking their head in the sand.

  19. - Rigby - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 2:07 pm:

    From CWB

    Federal authorities expect to find dozens of pending local cases that they can take over with minimal effort. The tactic will allow feds to quickly rack up Operation Legend case totals to supplement a smaller number of cases that the agents might initiate and complete from scratch, the source said.

    A top prosecutor within the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office has been assigned to collect rap sheets and county case information for federal consideration, according to the source.

  20. - Amalia - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 2:13 pm:

    how can so many elected officials be so clueless? what you want is cooperation, and the penalties at the Federal level on guns are especially what you want. sometimes I think that the left does not want to arrest anyone. right now the downtown and Michigan Ave area are seeing a great increase in crime. murder and more. look up the idiots on Divvy bikes who car jacked an 82 year old man in recent days, right near Michigan Ave. work with the Feds. arrest and prosecute bad guys.

  21. - Abbey - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 2:26 pm:

    The left wants the feds out. The authoritarian creep began with the Patriot Act. Do not give them any more inches. Crime and gun violence in Chicago is a Chicago problem.

  22. - 1st Ward - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 2:32 pm:

    To counter the stat “Chicago has more police officers per capita than any other major city in the U.S”

    Chicago (pop: 2.7MM) has more murders than New York and LA combined (combined pop: 12.3 million)

    You can always find statistics to support your agenda.

  23. - Actual Red - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 2:37 pm:

    Cops are bad at preventing violence. As the elected point out, Chicago already has more cops per capita than anywhere else. The CPD gets something like 40% of the city’s budget, and yet few suspects are caught, and murder rates fluctuate. Bringing in federal agencies under the direction of an administration that has showed it does not respect constitutional rights won’t help that situation.

    The right loves to mock the idea of replacing cops with social workers, but do cops or FBI agents prevent crime? No, they show up after the fact to take notes. Investment in social workers, schools, mental health, social services, and violence interruption are preventative measures that work.

    I do agree that successive Democratic city governments have failed to achieve this, but it’s hilarious to suggest that voting for Republicans, great lovers of austerity and privatization that they are, would do anything to fix the problem.

  24. - Father Ted - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 2:41 pm:

    I don’t trust either side on this. The president and these senators are motivated by how they can use this situation to their political gain. While they leverage this to get an advantage over one another, it leaves law enforcement and vulnerable citizens squarely in the middle.

  25. - phocion - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 2:42 pm:

    I get the arguments, and it plays well on a local level (to the progressive base). But on a national level, stunts like this will help Trump get re-elected.

  26. - 1st Ward - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 2:52 pm:

    “mock the idea of replacing cops with social workers, but do cops or FBI agents prevent crime”

    The FBI is here for gun crimes and gun trafficking. Solution: send unarmed social working to talk to gun trafficker and person shooting guns. Let me how that goes. Who would sign up for that job?

  27. - 1st Ward - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 2:53 pm:

    Let me know how that goes*

  28. - Rich Miller - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 2:54 pm:

    ===Solution: send unarmed social working to talk to gun trafficker and person shooting guns===

    And who has said that?

  29. - Flapdoodle - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 3:05 pm:

    Two points occur to me –

    1. Trust? Are you kidding me? What has any agency involved here done to inspire trust? Feds, police, pols — yeah, they’ve all build solid reputations for trustworthiness, haven’t they?

    2. For people who mock the idea of using social services instead of law enforcement, here’s a great read that gives an idea of some LEOs would welcome that —

  30. - RNUG - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 3:11 pm:

    == Crime and gun violence in Chicago is a Chicago problem. ==

    And the Chicago / Cook County authorities are doing such a good job controlling gun violence (banned punctuation).

    Seriously, one of the things the Feds are good at is paperwork and prosecuting cases. Plus it moves some of the cases into the Federal court system, where the penalities are likely to be stiffer.

  31. - Keyrock - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 3:16 pm:

    The letter addresses different concerns and reaches, in my view, an incorrect conclusion. All of the following can be true:
    1. The FBI, ATF, and other agencies have been working with Chicago police and the Sheriff’s office for decades on violent crime and other task forces.
    2. Law enforcement, alone, won’t solve the problems of violence in Chicago.
    3. The lessons of the Kerner Commission have never been implemented. Massive Federal investment in jobs, housing, health, and other programs is needed to address some of the underlying causes of the violence.
    4. Policing in Chicago has a long history of abusive practices, especially towards communities of color.
    5. The Federal government’s tactics in Portland have been counterproductive and may be illegal.
    6. Those tactics are not welcome in Chicago. Much immigration law enforcement is also not welcome.
    7. Taking gun offenders — especially repeat gun offenders —off the streets makes the streets safer, even though that won’t, by itself, solve Chicago’s violence problem.
    8. Federal gun laws provide stiffer sentences than state laws.
    9. The CPD’s murder clearance rate is very low..
    10. More federal agents working traditional federal law enforcement should help solve more serious crimes.
    11. John Lausch and Lori Lightfoot are former colleagues who’ve known each other for 20 years and likely trust each other’s word
    12. If federal riot police, border patrol, etc., start deploying to Chicago, Mayor Lightfoot would noisily object.
    13. Everything isn’t political — but everything has political overtones and consequences.

  32. - 1st Ward - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 3:23 pm:

    “And who has said that?”

    The commenter appears to have an issue with the FBI enforcing gun laws and thinks social workers would be better given the topic of the post.

    Social Workers may work for certain low-level crimes/issues. Criticizing the FBI operation in Chicago seems like the wrong time to stump for social workers instead.

  33. - Enemy of the State - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 3:47 pm:

    Why fight criminals when it is so productive to fight among ourselves?

  34. - Fed up Dem - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 3:59 pm:

    The usual pandering from those offering little practical solutions. If the Feds can put real bad guys (and gals) away then it will save lives. Too many criminals using guns and facing zero real consequences…sometimes multiple times. Time to make it well known that if you commit a crime with a firearm you have chance of ending up in the federal system.

  35. - downstate hack - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 4:14 pm:

    If 15 children under 15 were killed in Naperville, Oak Park, or any predomintely white neighborhood in Chicago politicians would be demanding the national guard, the army and airforce to interceed. The fact these poor black childrens deaths are ignored stikes me as true institutional racism

  36. - Bruce - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 4:14 pm:

    An infant was shot today. We have to try something. If it saves one child isn’t it worth it?

  37. - West Side the Best Side - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 4:22 pm:

    Excellent points made by Keyrock. As long as US Attorney Lausch is able to continue to oversee the various federal agencies in their dealings with COD and CCSPD it should operate as planned. If the Feds to off on their own, especially worried about Homeland Security, then things will go off the rails. So if the Feds stay in suits instead of camo they might be able to do something about the surge in gun violence.

  38. - West Side the Best Side - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 4:24 pm:

    “CPD” not COD.

  39. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 4:26 pm:

    === If 15 children under 15 were killed in Naperville, Oak Park, or any predomintely white neighborhood in Chicago politicians would be demanding the national guard===

    Probably not.

    I say that has I look a Columbine, Sandy Hook, other places with mass casualties and still very limited gun control, legal ownership or not, after school episodes.

    There a false equivalency here, as I look at other instances with guns and children and see little towards the movement to prevention.

    That’s the point I’m addressing here.

  40. - Muddy trail - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 5:00 pm:

    == Solution: send unarmed social working to talk to gun traffickers and a person shooting guns. Let me how that goes. Who would sign up for that job?==
    Actual Red said police don’t prevent crimes. They don’t. That isn’t a criticism, it’s how it works.
    Once someone is already a trafficker or off shooting guns the crime is in the process of being committed. There is no preventing. Those are two different things.
    Maybe stop while you’re ahead.

  41. - The Old Man - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 5:03 pm:

    Those ten state senators sure must like going to funerals of teens being gunned down by every weekend in Chicago.

  42. - NothsideNoMore - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 5:22 pm:

    Not a lawyer, but where does the jurisdictional line get crossed? Feds have laws, states have laws, cities etc. Unless I’m wrong, a crime can being committed can be enforced at all levels, just the charging of such is done by the appororiate level. Not saying and US Marshall would pull you over for speeding but they could, No? Why a city that is hemorrhaging from street violence would not want help getting bad actors off the streets, makes no sense.

  43. - M - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 5:24 pm:

    The president will still be calling the shots with the federal officers while they are in Chicago. He could care less about the federal agents agreement with the mayor.

  44. - NSJ - Monday, Jul 27, 20 @ 11:58 pm:

    Willy - School shootings are mostly a suburban white problem, yes. But they are random and sporadic, not a systemic, everyday occurrence.

  45. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 12:05 am:

    ===But they are random and sporadic, not a systemic, everyday occurrence.===

    The point is… thinking children will be the catalyst of change isn’t the catalyst that is making change.

    Sporadic, every day, sadly it’s not enough to invoke children.

    With respect.

  46. - All this - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 8:34 am:

    == Those ten state senators sure must like going to funerals of teens being gunned down by every weekend in Chicago.==
    And this is going to stop? How so?

  47. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Tuesday, Jul 28, 20 @ 9:27 am:

    === The president will still be calling the shots with the federal officers while they are in Chicago. He could care less about the federal agents agreement with the mayor.===
    Disagree. 1. The Portland fiasco is costing him votes. Even Republicans and heading for the exist.
    2. We don’t know how much Trump is micromanaging the people in charge of the federal agents. I would put my money on Launch’s and Lightfoot’s relationship.
    3. No one wants a disaster like in Portland. No one benefits. However a few felons getting charged with having guns, a few cold cases solved, etc. would be a good thing for everyone.

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