As More Federal Agents Enter American Cities, Local Leaders Can’t Keep Them In Line
As the U.S. Justice Department starts sending more federal agents to big cities across the country, there’s good and bad news for their mayors and residents.The good news is that the feds in question are not the camo-clad unit that have created such an uproar in Portland by clashing violently with protesters. According to the Justice Department, the influx of agents will expand long-standing partnerships between city cops and agencies like the FBI. The campaign also includes $61 million worth of hiring grants for local officers.The bad news: City officials and prosecutors have no control over these agents and can’t force them to follow local rules on matters like use of force or body cameras. Police officers on the task forces don’t have to abide by those rules, either, and are almost impossible to sue for misconduct. The only way to assert local control, experts say, is to back out of the task forces altogether.A 2019 Marshall Project investigation into the decades-long expansion of these teams found that they’ve become ubiquitous in cities across the country. According to federal estimates, the U.S. Marshals, the FBI and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration operate about a thousand task forces.