Resisting Operation Legend

Operation Relentless Pursuit, now Operation Legend, is a federal multi-agency initiative targeting violent crime launched by Attorney General William Barr. This “surge” in policing, militarization, and surveillance is a centerpiece of President Trump’s “law and order” campaign strategy.

Operation Legend is part of a national trend of expanding federalization and corporate funding of policing, increasing surveillance of targeted neighborhoods, and the ongoing militarizing game of police tactics and equipment. An article appearing on The Appeal notes, five US cities have pulled out of similar task forces in the last few years because they have circumvented federal consent decrees imposed to address police violence and corruption and have ignored local policies aimed at  increasing police accountability. In addition, despite the claims by the DOJ and chiefs of police, these kinds of task forces have not proven effective in reducing crime or violence.

The Appeal's article, OPERATION LEGEND IS ANOTHER ATTEMPT TO ‘FEDERALIZE’ POLICING. ORGANIZERS ARE PUSHING BACK, provides important information about Operation Legend. Criminal defense attorneys in Michigan can play an important role in pushing back on the claims of effectiveness and the negative impact Operation Legend will have in Detroit communities already subject to over-policing and surveillance. Of course, vigorously defending people targeted by the task force operations and assisting clients, where possible, in obtaining bail via bail projects so they can tell their own stories, are in themselves important contributions. In addition, many Michigan defense lawyers have been assisting Detroit Will Breathe, which is leading the resistance to the federalization of the police in Michigan, and volunteers are always needed as legal observers.

More information about the fight of Detroit Will Breathe against police violence and their demands can be found at Detroit will More information about Resist Operation Relentless Pursuit/Operation Legend can be found at ResistORP/

by Laura Sager
National Network for Justice

Laura Sager, former executive director of Safe and Just Michigan, has led several criminal justice organizations and campaigns that won groundbreaking sentencing and parole reforms. She has worked closely with the criminal defense community in Michigan and nationally.

Sager co-convened the Resist Operation Relentless Pursuit/Operation Legend Project Project of the National Network for Justice. Sager lives in Lansing, Michigan.