In a speech at a Justice Department ceremony, Attorney General William Barr said that communities that don’t “respect” law enforcement could lose access to police services.
The ceremony was to give honors to police officers for the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Policing.
“Today, the American people have to focus on something else, which is the sacrifice and the service that is given by our law enforcement officers. And they have to start showing, more than they do, the respect and support that law enforcement deserves,” Barr said.
Barr also suggested that “if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.”
It’s not the first time Barr has had strong words for those who criticize law enforcement.
In August, Barr said that the Trump administration would “not tolerate violence against police, and we will do all we can to protect the safety of law enforcement officers.”
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Barr did not talk about specific “communities” that he believes aren’t showing proper “respect” in his speech, but activists already have come out against him.
“Barr’s words are as revealing as they are disturbing ― flagrantly dismissive of the rights of Americans of color, disrespectful to countless law enforcement officers who work hard to serve their communities, and full of a continuing disregard for the rule of law,” Jeb Fain, a spokesperson for American Bridge, told HuffPost.
Fain is not the only one to come out against Barr’s words.
“William Barr would be the perfect Attorney General . . . for North Korea,” former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner tweeted.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mimi Rocah also voiced her disgust with Barr’s comments.
“These are despicable & dangerous comments from the AG, who leads law enforcement,” she tweeted. “Everyone, no matter your party, should denounce this immediately.”
These are despicable & dangerous comments from the AG, who leads law enforcement. Everyone, no matter your party, should denounce this immediately. https://t.co/IYfMZle30H
— Mimi Rocah (@Mimirocah1) December 4, 2019