President Donald Trump is to send “a surge” of federal security forces to US cities in a crackdown on crime.
Chicago and two other Democratic-run cities are being targeted in the Republican president’s move, amid a spike in violence.
But federal deployments in Portland, Oregon, have proved controversial. Local officials say they have raised tensions amid ongoing protests.
Law and order has become a key plank of Mr Trump’s re-election bid in November.
Since the death on 25 May of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, there have been protests – sometimes descending into civil disorder – in scores of US cities.
Meanwhile, gun violence has spiked in metropolitan areas including New York City, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago and Milwaukee.
What is Operation Legend?
It is named after a four-year-old boy, LeGend Taliferro, who was shot dead while sleeping in his family home in Kansas City in June. The boy’s mother joined the president at Wednesday’s announcement.
The operation will see agents from the FBI, Marshals Service and other federal agencies work with local law enforcement, according to the US Department of Justice.
Mr Trump – whose opinion poll numbers have been slumping amid a coronavirus-crippled US economy – said: “This rampage of violence shocks the conscience of our nation.”
The president, who accuses Democrats of being weak on crime, said: “In recent weeks there has been a radical movement to defend, dismantle and dissolve our police department.”
He blamed this for “a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders and heinous crimes of violence”. He added: “This bloodshed will end.”