By Zolan Kanno-Youngs
President Biden is expected on Wednesday to announce a slate of actions to bolster efforts by law enforcement agencies and community organizations to tackle gun violence, propelling the White House into the politically contentious debate over how to address rising crime in many U.S. cities.
The president’s remarks come as city leaders grapple with dueling calls to both improve oversight of their police departments and address soaring homicide rates that administration officials fear will continue through the summer.
Mr. Biden’s comments from the White House, scheduled for 3:30 p.m., will come after a discussion with local mayors, prosecutors and activists. The president’s remarks, administration officials say, are needed not just to show action by the federal government on the issue, but also because concerns over rising crime could hinder efforts to galvanize support for meaningful police reform measures.
The Biden administration announced on Tuesday that the Justice Department would start five “strike forces” to combat gun trafficking in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington and the San Francisco area.
On Wednesday, the administration announced that state and local governments could use coronavirus relief funds to hire police officers, pay overtime for community policing work, support community-based anti-violence groups and invest in technology to “effectively respond to the rise in gun violence resulting from the pandemic,” according to a statement from the Treasury Department. The funds can also be spent on summer camp programs in communities struggling with violence, programs for the formerly incarcerated and mental health services.
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