U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Wednesday pinned rising crime in the United States on what he referred to as “revolving-door justice,” affirming that violence would be greatly reduced if only a few hundred felons were removed from the streets.
“One of the problems we have in the criminal justice system now is revolving-door justice,” Barr stated during a Kansas City, Missouri, press conference on the Trump administration’s anti-violence initiative Operation Legend. “And I think too many criminals — to tell you the truth, during my exposure to the law enforcement community, which goes back over 30 years, there’s one constant, which is that the police do their job.”
“The police do — get the suspect and get the evidence,” he continued. “The system falls apart in the prosecution and trial and the sentencing stage. And what’s happening these days in the country is we’re going back to some of the old practices we followed in the ’60s and ’70s where there’s revolving-door justice and people are not being held. They’re not being held before trial when they’re dangerous.”
Barr then discussed a possible solution to the country’s nascent crime wave. “I think if you go to most of these big cities that are experiencing an increase in violent crime, and you go to the police departments, they will know who the shooters are,” he said. “They will know exactly who the shooters are. And they’re not that many of them, relatively speaking. Two, three hundred, that if you took off the streets, you would more than half violent crime.”
Barr’s remarks came as he announced 1,485 arrests have been made under Operation Legend. The program, launched roughly six weeks ago, is active in nine U.S. cities and has led to around 220 individuals facing federal charges.
Operation Legend — which operates in Albuquerque, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and St. Louis — was named after LeGend Taliferro, who was shot and killed in June in Kansas City. Taliferro’s suspected killer was arrested last week.