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Press Release

Operation LeGend Results in Over 500 Arrests, Including 37 Murder Suspects

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Missouri
Officers Seized 176 Firearms

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison, at a joint press conference with Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and Kansas City Police Chief Rick Smith, announced today that 518 arrests have been made by local and federal law enforcement officers in Operation LeGend.

“On behalf of the team of federal law enforcement agencies involved in this groundbreaking initiative, I made certain promises when Operation LeGend was launched,” Garrison said. “Those promises have been kept. The FBI, the ATF, the DEA, and the U.S. Marshals Service worked collaboratively and effectively with the Kansas City Police Department and other local law enforcement agencies to accomplish the objectives of Operation LeGend. We created a model for others to follow. Our success in Kansas City is now being duplicated in eight more cities across the nation.”

Promises Made, Promises Kept

“We promised that Operation LeGend would be a short-term, high-impact strategy to freeze the escalation of violent crime and respond to the record number of homicides in Kansas City this year,” Garrison said. “That promise was kept. Operation LeGend has had a significant impact on violent crime in Kansas City, and those efforts will continue.”

During the 10 weeks from the announcement of Operation LeGend on July 8 through Sept. 16, homicides in Kansas City were down 22 percent, non-fatal shootings were down 24 percent, and aggravated assaults were down 44 percent, as compared to the 10 weeks before July 8.

“We promised that federal agents would work alongside local law enforcement, in a supportive role to provide additional support and assistance,” Garrison said. “That promise was kept, and in the process, valuable lessons were gained for how to confront violent crime.”

For example, the FBI has doubled the number of agents working violent crime cases and embedded agents with the Kansas City Police Department’s violent crime unit. The ATF has added a new unit that is permanently embedded with Kansas City’s assault squad. Intelligence has been gained and shared among law enforcement agencies to improve future investigations. “These strategies for collaborating with local law enforcement have been successful, and will continue,” Garrison said.

“We promised there would be no storm troopers patrolling the streets of Kansas City, no interference with the civil rights of protesters engaged in public demonstrations,” Garrison said. “Despite accusations of a federal occupation, we have worked cooperatively with both local law enforcement and local community leaders. None of those dire predictions from our critics came to pass.”

“I’ve also said, from the start of Operation LeGend, that law enforcement would not be the sole solution to violent crime,” Garrison added. “Violence is a community issue, and requires a community-wide response.”

“I hope that by keeping the promises we made, by doing what we said we would do, we’ve established a level of trust and credibility that will continue to bear fruit,” Garrison said.

Among those arrested since the launch of Operation LeGend, 126 are federal defendants in the Western District of Missouri (with additional federal cases referred to U.S. Attorney’s Offices in Kansas and Texas). Among the remaining arrests, 37 were homicide cases. In addition to the arrests, agents and officers have seized 176 firearms, large quantities of illegal drugs, and several stolen vehicles during Operation LeGend.

Among the homicide arrests made under Operation LeGend was the defendant charged in state court with murder of 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro, in whose memory the operation was named.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office does not track cases that are referred for prosecution in state court or in other districts. Defendants have been charged in the Western District of Missouri with the following federal crimes: 
-    70 defendants have been charged with firearms-related offenses;
-    45 defendants have been charged with drug trafficking offenses;
-    11 defendants have been charged with other violent crimes.

Operation LeGend
Operation LeGend is a federal partnership with local law enforcement to address the increase in homicides and violent crime in Kansas City, Mo., in 2020. The operation honors the memory of four-year-old LeGend Taliferro, one of the youngest fatalities during a record-breaking year of homicides and shootings. Additional federal agents were assigned to the operation from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Marshals Service.

Updated September 28, 2020

Operation Legend