Prosecutor: Agents headed to Milwaukee won’t police protests

Published: Jul. 24, 2020 at 1:25 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 24, 2020 at 5:01 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The U.S. attorney for Milwaukee is stressing that additional federal agents being sent to Milwaukee by President Donald Trump will help local and state law enforcement solve violent crimes, not break up protests.

Matt Krueger told reporters during a video conference Friday the agents’ mission is to help solve violent crimes, not to patrol the streets. He says he spent Thursday explaining the mission to local authorities.

Trump and the White House announced Thursday that federal agents will deploy to Chicago; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Cleveland; Detroit; and Milwaukee to combat rising crime.

Democrats have blasted the decision, pointing to how federal agents have recently been accused of using excessive force against protesters in Portland, Oregon.


Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers wants President Donald Trump to keep federal agents out of Milwaukee.

Evers, a Democrat, sent Trump a letter Wednesday saying he’s strongly opposed to the move, warning it will only make things worse. Wisconsin authorities, including the state’s National Guard, can handle protests, he said.

“This is not a moment to double down and unnecessarily increase police presence, especially without invitation,” Evers wrote. “As we have seen in Portland, this excessive and unwelcome federal law enforcement presence only makes these situations more volatile and dangerous.”

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has asked a judge for a restraining order blocking federal agents deployed to quell protests in Portland. She has accused the agents of arresting protesters without probable cause and using excessive force.

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul said in a statement that Trump is employing “fascist tactics” and promised to take “appropriate legal action” if agents interfere with peaceful protests.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said he’s worried Trump is looking for ways to create political division and federal agents won’t be welcome in his city.

In a statement Thursday, the Milwaukee Police Department said it “respectfully declines the deployment of federal agents in Milwaukee” to address civil unrest.

“We look forward to continuing to work with our federal partners on other joint initiatives such as those addressing violent crime, drug trafficking, internet crimes against children, and human trafficking,” the Police Department said.

The American Civil Liberties Union’s Wisconsin chapter issued a statement decrying the decision to send agents to Milwaukee, saying the city doesn’t need a repeat of the failed approach in Portland.

Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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