The attorney general just weighed in on the debate over police reform — and his remarks likely won’t sit well with those on the left.
According to the Washington Examiner, Attorney General William Barr argued on Wednesday that police reform is about “striking the right balance” — not “demonizing the police” and “not defunding police.”
“We need a police force”
According to the Examiner, the attorney general’s remarks on police reform came during a recent trip he made to South Carolina. There, Barr accompanied Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) to promote Scott’s police reform bill, the Justice Act, the Examiner reported.
“I think we have to avoid extremes and recognize that it’s a question of prudence and balance,” Barr said of proposals to crack down on law enforcement, according to the Examiner.
He went on to argue against a system where police officers don’t exist.
“Basically, as I see it, we need a police force,” Barr said, according to the Examiner. “We need these institutions to provide peace and security in society to allow our lives to flourish.
“At the same time,” he added, “whenever you have that kind of institution, you have the possibility of abuse, and so you have to put reins and checks in place to make sure that these institutions that are designed to protect these community don’t themselves become oppressive, and it’s a question of striking the right balance.”
“It’s striking a balance”
According to Fox News, “Barr made the remarks as protesters continue to demand racial justice in the wake of George Floyd’s death and Black Lives Matters activists call for police departments to be defunded.” But the AG insisted that “we need to support the police so they’re out there protecting the community.”
“But at the same time, we have to be sure there aren’t these abuses. And it’s striking a balance,” Barr clarified, according to the Examiner.
He went on: “It’s not defunding police or doing away with the police or demonizing the police, nor is it giving short shrift to the legitimate concerns that are out there about police abuses and overreach. So I think we have to strike a balance here.”
Thus far, the Barr-backed and Scott-written Justice Act hasn’t gained much traction, as Senate Democrats haven’t gotten on board. But according to The Hill, Scott believes that things may be about to change.
“Folks who are now calling me about the legislation from the other side suggest that perhaps it’s not dead,” the Republican said while speaking alongside Barr, according to The Hill. “We may have a Lazarus moment. We may not.”