Fox News reports Attorney General Bill Barr on Monday blasted calls from protesters and activists to defund police departments in the wake of George Floyd’s death – saying in an exclusive interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier that going after entire departments is “wrong” and “dangerous.”
Barr’s comments come as demonstrators in cities across the country are holding daily protests against police brutality and racial injustice. After Floyd, an unarmed black man, died in Minneapolis police custody after an officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, a number of cities have proposed major cuts or reforms to police departments or – in the case of Minneapolis – moved to “dismantle” the force entirely.
Barr told Fox News he agreed on the need for changes in police departments to address the concerns of many people of color, but he stopped well short of supporting moves to defund departments.
“The police chiefs, the rank-and-file officers understand the need for change and there has been great change,” Barr said in the interview, which airs Monday at 6 p.m. ET on Fox News’ “Special Report with Bret Baier.” “I think defunding the police, holding the entire police structure responsible for the actions of certain officers is wrong and I think it is dangerous to demonize police.”
The attorney general referenced a bloody weekend in Chicago that saw “60 to 70 people shot” as a reason for needing to keep police departments funded. Over the last few years, Chicago has been dealing with a scourge of gun violence, with a total of 85 people being shot – 24 fatally – in the last weekend of May.
“If you pull back the police from these communities there will be, there will be more harm done in these communities,” Barr said.
Barr’s comments mirror those of President Trump, who has repeatedly slammed proponents of defunding police departments and cast himself as a “law & order” president.
“This year has seen the lowest crime numbers in our Country’s recorded history, and now the Radical Left Democrats want to Defund and Abandon our Police. Sorry, I want LAW & ORDER!” Trump tweeted on Monday.
This year has seen the lowest crime numbers in our Country’s recorded history, and now the Radical Left Democrats want to Defund and Abandon our Police. Sorry, I want LAW & ORDER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 8, 2020