Much of the country fell into unrest following the death of 46-year-old George Floyd, a Black man who was unarmed, in the custody of Minneapolis police late last month. But according to Attorney General Bill Barr, instances of police brutality against that demographic are actually on the decline.
According to the Daily Caller, Barr told Fox News’ Sunday Morning Futures this week that “instances of the shooting of Black unarmed males [have] been dropping” in recent years.
“For the past few decades, we’ve been reforming our institutions to make sure they reflect our values, and the police have been engaged in that,” Barr told host Mario Bartiromo, according to the Daily Caller.
He went on: “We shouldn’t let this incident [Floyd’s death] and the actions of a bad few obscure the fact that the police made a lot of progress.”
“Keep that in perspective”
According to Barr, there were 38 instances in which an unarmed Black man was shot by police in the U.S. five years ago.
“Last year it was 10. Ten in the nation, and six of those were involved in attacking the police officer at the time they were shot,” Barr said, according to the Daily Caller.
“I mean, there are…roughly 8,000 homicides of African Americans in our country every year,” he said. “Eight thousand. Ten last year were due to force by shooting an unarmed Black male. So we have to keep that in perspective.
“In proportion, it’s relatively small,” Barr added, according to the Daily Caller. Still, he conceded that “any death” in this manner “is too many.”
“Try to do justice”
The unrest that has come in the wake of Floyd’s killing has turned violent in many instances, leaving more than a dozen dead across the country, according to Fox 6 in Minneapolis. For his part, Barr indicated Sunday that it’s important not to bow to the whims of the mob when it comes to instances like Floyd’s death, but rather, “try to do justice” in each individual case.
“I do think that police management has to be able to get rid of bad apples. But, by the same token, I think there has to be due process,” the attorney general said, according to a transcript from Fox. This is in part why police unions — which Bartiromo said many want to be abolished — are so important, Barr says.
“I think police are at risk, sometimes, when some event like this happens… We have to make special effort to make sure that they get due process. And the unions do play a role in that,” the AG said, according to the transcript.
It seems Barr is willing to defend good cops while still hoping for progress in the future. It’s nice to see that at least someone in the Justice Department has their head on straight.