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Chicago suffered a massive spike in both gun incidents and murders throughout July as protests and riots swept the city, according to police statistics.

The Chicago Police Department counted 105 murders in July alone, a 139 percent increase over July 2019, which saw 44 murders. Police counted 406 shooting incidents, a 75 percent rise compared to July 2019’s total of 232.

The unprecedented violence has left police scrambling for a response even as Democrat Mayor Lori Lightfoot squabbles with President Donald Trump over whether federal agents are needed to help the city.

Chicago saw a 75% increase in shooting incidents and 139% increase in murders for July 2020 compared to the same month a year ago, according to police data.

— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) August 1, 2020

The city’s murders are up 51 percent when comparing the January-July periods from 2020 and 2019, and shootings have jumped 47 percent for the same period.

Police announced a new task force aimed at cutting back on the violence, the Sun-Times reported. (RELATED: ‘Right Back At You, Clown’: Chicago Mayor Critical Of Her Embattled Police Force)

“As we continue moving more officers into the districts and closer to our communities, we have also been focused on creating teams that can address violent crime head-on within our most vulnerable neighborhoods,” CPD Supt. David Brown said in a statement. “Our officers will engage directly with residents. We will hear their concerns, and continue to work in partnership with them as part of an all-hands-on-deck effort to curb the violence in our communities.”

Lightfoot has repeatedly insisted that no federal assistance is needed in Chicago, but Trump still ordered roughly 200 federal agents to the city in mid-July. (RELATED: Demonstrators Swarm Chicago Mayor’s Home After Phone Call With Trump)

Lightfoot suggested Trump’s focus on cities like Chicago and Seattle was driven by sexism and not by the unchecked rioting in the cities.

“The president has been on a campaign now for some time against Democratic mayors across the country,” Lightfoot said. “Whether it’s me, whether it’s Keisha Lance Bottoms in Atlanta, whether it’s Muriel Bowser in Washington, D.C., whether it’s Jenny Durkan in Seattle – do you see a common theme here?” (RELATED: Chicago Mayor Cites COVID-19 For City’s Escalating Murder Rate)

Lightfoot released a statement soon after Trump announced he was sending the agents, saying she had spoken to Trump about the plan on the phone. Her conversation with Trump led a number of protesters to demonstrate outside of her house.

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Federal Gun Violence Initiative Unveiled in Indianapolis

By CASEY SMITH, Associated Press/Report for America

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Federal agents and resources have been sent to Indianapolis to support city police in their efforts to curb increasing gun violence, a senior prosecutor said Friday.

Fifty-seven federal agents and investigators will work with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department in a 45-day initiative under the auspices of Operation Legend, which was unveiled in July in Kansas City, Missouri, U.S. Attorney Josh J. Minkler said during a news conference. The initiative officially begins Friday.

The operation also makes available $250,000 for Indianapolis police overtime and $25,000 for rewards related to tips in unsolved homicides.

Minkler said Operation Legend is “not a new strategy” but rather a surge of federal resources in direct response to the “acute levels of gun violence that Indianapolis is currently experiencing.” Officers will crack down on illegal drug and gun trafficking and domestic violence involving firearms, and will track down individuals with outstanding warrants.

The federal agents will focus on responding to shooting scenes and using ballistic evidence to identify and “remove trigger pullers from our streets.” Minkler promised prosecutors will request federal prison terms for those charged with a gun crime.

“There will be no plea bargains,” he said.

The operation is not a response to recent protests spurred by the police killing of George Floyd, nor is it about “swarming neighborhoods and randomly stopping and searching innocent civilians,” Minkler said.

He said Indianapolis has recorded 144 homicides in 2020, which is a 50% jump from this time last year and a continuation of a yearslong trend of increasing gun violence homicides in the city.

“That number is unacceptable. We have lost too many young people to violence," Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said at the news conference. “Our job is to prevent the violence from happening in the first place. But it will take massive efforts — both preventative and punitive — for us to get through this unprecedented time.”

Indianapolis police welcome more federal resources, especially as officers have been responding to increasing numbers of “violent” calls, IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said. He said the police force will continue to work with community organizations and mental health experts during the operation to "approach obstacles to peace.”

“We know that enforcement alone will not prevent violence from occurring in our city,” Taylor said. “But those who robbed our citizens of their futures must be held accountable.”

Operation Legend coordinates federal, state and local law enforcement to fight increased gun violence in cities across the U.S. Over the last 30 days, the initiative has expanded to Chicago, Illinois; Albuquerque, New Mexico, Detroit, Michigan; Cleveland, Ohio; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; St. Louis, Missouri; and Memphis, Tennessee.


Casey Smith is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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