WASHINGTON DC — United States Attorney General William Barr released a statement Friday on the death of James Skernivitz, a Cleveland police detective who was killed Thursday, days after being sworn into "Operation Legend," a federal anti-crime initiative headed by Barr.
Barr's statement reads:
“Today is a very sad day for the city of Cleveland and the entire law enforcement community. Overnight, Cleveland Division of Police Detective James Skernivitz was shot and killed in the line of duty. Detective Skernivitz was a 22-year veteran of the Cleveland Division of Police and a sworn Operation Legend task force officer assigned to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Violent Crimes Task Force.
Two weeks ago, I had the honor of visiting the unit where Detective Skernivitz was assigned. I was briefed on the critical work that he and his colleagues do to keep our streets safe from violent crime. Detective Skernivitz selflessly gave his life in this cause.
It takes a special kind of courage to be a police officer. Our men and women in blue put their lives on the line day after day in order to keep us safe. We will not forget Detective Skernivitz and his life of service and sacrifice. I send my heartfelt condolences to his wife, children, and family.”
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said Friday that Skernivitz was part of Operation Legend, a federal law enforcement effort taking place in cities across the country, including Cleveland. He was most recently assigned to the Gang Impact Unit. He started with CPD in 1998.
Neither Barr nor local officials have confirmed whether or not Skernivitz was killed while taking part in actions that were part of Operation Legend.