Federal Agents Meant to Combat Violent Crime, Not Break Up Protests: U.S. Attorney

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The attorney for Milwaukee sought to alleviate concerns Friday about federal agents being sent to the city by President Donald Trump, saying they will assist local and state law enforcement in combating violent crime and would not be breaking up protests.

Matthew Krueger held video conferences with reporters to clarify that the agents won't be patrolling Milwaukee's streets or breaking up protests as they have been doing in Portland, Oregon, in recent days.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the agents of arresting people without probable cause, whisking them away in unmarked cars and using excessive force.

Trump announced Thursday that he was sending such agents to more cities, including Chicago and Milwaukee, to combat a rise in violent crime as part of an operation that started in May.

Wisconsin Democrats have decried the decision to send federal agents to Milwaukee, saying they don't want to see a repeat of what has happened in Portland.

Wisconsin's Democratic governor, Tony Evers, sent Trump a letter on Wednesday complaining that he was never consulted and saying that injecting federal agents into protests would only make things worse.

The state's Democratic attorney general, Josh Kaul, on Thursday called the agents' tactics in Portland "fascist" and vowed to take legal action if they interfere with protests in Milwaukee.

Krueger, a Trump appointee, stressed during his video conference with Associated Press reporters that the additional agents sent to Milwaukee won't be on the streets and will instead be working with state and local investigators to solve violent crime.

He said the arrangement is similar to existing partnerships between federal, state and local authorities. He spent Thursday consulting with local authorities about the surge in agents, he said.

"This is different from the response seen in Portland, where (agents) were protecting federal property," Krueger said. "That's not what's coming to Milwaukee.

It's not by any stretch a takeover or sweeping in by federal authorities."

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