Trump Says Chicago Crime and Killings Have Reached 'Epidemic Proportions'

Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson speaks during a news conference in Chicago. Chicago police federal agents and prosecutors plan to announce Friday June 30 they are launching a new initiativ

Crime and killings in Chicago have reached such epidemic proportions that I am sending in Federal help.

President Trump has often tweeted and spoken at rallies about violence in Chicago and has constantly threatened to send in federal authorities.

But on Thursday, 20 agents with the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were sent to Chicago to bolster the staff of 120 already in the city, according to the Chicago Sun Times.

"Six months ago we made it clear that we would welcome additional federal support, and six months later we appreciate the 20 new ATF agents that are now arriving", Adam Collins, a spokesman for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said. As of Thursday, 320 murders had been committed in Chicago this year, two less than at this same point in 2016.

In January, he warned Chicago about its high number of homicides, saying on Twitter that he is ready to "send in the Feds".

DNAinfo has tracked 1,373 shooting in Chicago as of Friday, and 332 murders.

And if he can help, and give full force and effect as the president to communities that are suffering, they are suffering gang and crime and drug violence, then I know he will want to do that.

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CNN was first to report earlier this year the formation of the team, which the ATF called in internal documents the "Chicago Crime Gun Strike Force".

Officials with the mayor's office said that the additional ATF agents come from a request the city made to the Obama administration last summer.

"We are foundationally changing the way we fight crime in Chicago", Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a statement on Friday.

"The police have been demoralized in many ways", he said.

The team will include an additional 20 ATF agents, who arrived in early June, according to a city official, as well as Chicago police officers, IL state troopers, intelligence analysts and state and federal prosecutors. So-called "sanctuary" policies tie the hands of law enforcement by rejecting common sense and undermining federal laws that would remove criminal, illegal aliens from the streets and remove them from this country.

In February, shortly after Mr. Trump's inauguration, the A.T.F. announced that it would send more agents to Chicago.

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