Protesters want federal Kansas City anti-crime program ended

Associated Press
Protesters demonstrate in downtown Kansas City, Mo. Friday, July 17, 2020. Protesters were demanding police reforms and an end to Operation Legend, a federal initiative that will deploy 225 federal law enforcement agents to combat crime in the city.

KANSAS CITY — A protest calling for an end to a federal initiative that will send 225 federal enforcement agents into Kansas City, Missouri, drew a crowd of hundreds.

The Kansas City Star reports that the protesters gathered Friday at the police headquarters and marched through the Power and Light entertainment district. They want an end to a new program, called Operation Legend, which is named after 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro who was fatally shot as he slept in his room last month. His death is among more than 100 homicides this year in the city.

The Department of Justice, which announced the operation, said it is meant to curb a spike in violent crime, but protesters said a larger law enforcement presence will endanger Black people. 

Instead, the protesters demanded a 50% cut to the police budget and for that money to be redirected to education, healthcare and other services.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and other officials have said officers brought in through Operation Legend would be working to solve murders and shootings in the area rather than patrolling streets.

But marchers chanted "Mayor Lucas is not the people," "feds go home" and "not in our city."