During an interview aired on Monday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Special Report,” Attorney General William Barr criticized calls to defund the police, said that lateral chokeholds should be banned unless officers are faced with lethal force, and there will need to be “strong, federal participation” in helping to set standards for police.
Barr stated that defunding the police is “the exact opposite of the way we should go.”
He continued, “I understand, given the history of racial injustice in this country, why the African American community, or at least some of it, would view the ghastly events in Minneapolis as manifestations of institutional racism in police departments. But I think, in fact, over the past 50 or 60 years, we’ve had a lot of reform of police departments. I was attorney general 30 years ago, and I can tell you, there’s a world of difference. Today, the police chiefs, the rank and file officers, understand the need for change, and there has been great change. And I think defunding the police, holding the entire police structure responsible for the actions of certain officers is wrong. And I think it’s dangerous to demonize police.”
Barr also stated, “One of the legitimate grievances of the African American community is that they’re treated with suspicion…simply because they’re African Americans. And that does happen. By the same token, demonstrators, peaceful demonstrators shouldn’t be treated as violent extremists simply because they’re out on the streets. It’s the same with police officers. Every organization has individuals who engage in misconduct, and we have to be very careful before we say the whole organization is rotten.”
Barr said that disbanding police forces in major cities would lead to “increasing chaos.”
He also said, “I think we should ban chokeholds — lateral chokeholds…unless a police officer’s confronted with potentially lethal force. But I think there’s a general agreement among police agencies that we need clearer standards. We have to make sure those standards are trained to, and we have to make sure that there are systems in place that hold officers accountable. I think there’s universal agreement on that.” And “I think we’re going to need strong, federal participation in this effort, in helping to set standards.”
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