Bill Barr: Support Your Local Police. Or Else.
Attorney General Bill Barr likes to think of police officers as a brave army that's literally at war -- with crime, or with evildoing criminals, or maybe with the communities they police. And if people don't like it, they should just shut up, submit to lawful authority, and stop resisting. Back in August, at a Cop Convention in New Orleans, Barr explained that American law enforcement shouldn't be hamstrung by all this stupid stuff about "rights," because cops are right and anyone a cop decides is a criminal is wrong:
We need to get back to basics. We need public voices, in the media and elsewhere, to underscore the need to "Comply first, and, if warranted, complain later." This will make everyone safe – the police, suspects, and the community at large. And those who resist must be prosecuted for that crime. We must have zero tolerance for resisting police. This will save lives.
Barr didn't explain how a 10-year-old who gets shot to death within seconds of cops pulling up on him was being too much of a loudmouthed resister, but on Tuesday he offered further thoughts on who deserves police protection and who doesn't. He seems to think that "comply first, and if warranted, complain later" offers too much latitude, because there's entirely too much complaining about unarmed black people getting shot by cops.
Instead, in Tuesday's remarks at the "Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service in Policing," Barr explained that law enforcement is like a protection racket:
Bill Barr Third Annual Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service in Policingwww.youtube.com
After once again comparing cops to The Troops going off to fight America's enemies -- an analogy anyone in law enforcement ought to rethink, because no, American cities are not Fallujah -- Barr moved on to how certain "communities" need to appreciate police, and if they don't, well maybe the police will just go away and how would you like THAT?
I think today, 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. And if communities don't give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.
That's a useful thing to know. Comply, submit, and only complain later, if it's warranted. But too much complaining, or for that matter, insufficient applause for the cops, and maybe you won't deserve to be kept safe.
Huffpost notes that the Department Of
Busting Heads Justice "did not immediately respond" to a request for clarification of which "communities" Barr had in mind, or of "what he meant by people finding themselves without police protection." Gosh, it is indeed a mystery! Although Slate has a pretty good read on the meaning: Maybe it's like Barr's boss telling Ukraine it should investigate Joe Biden -- shame if something happened to those US anti-tank missiles.
Doing our own due diligence, we checked the full video to make sure the clip above didn't somehow take Barr out of context. Nope. He very definitely did not go on to explain how that's not a threat of withdrawing police protection from communities that insist their lives matter. Instead, he quickly moved to presenting the awards: "It's an honor for me in a small way to show that recognition today."
The ACLU seems to have figured out who Barr had in mind. In a statement Wednesday, Jeffery Robinson, director of the ACLU's Trone Center for Justice and Equality, said it was pretty damn clear Barr was encouraging "abusive policing."
Support and respect are earned, not given as the result of a demand from those who carry badges and guns. Attorney General Barr is telling communities across the country to bow their heads in respect to police even if those same police are violating their rights and killing people without justification.
This administration has repeatedly made it clear that it is not interested in holding law enforcement accountable. Communities of color around the country are consistently being abused by their police departments without receiving the type of public safety benefits that Attorney General Barr described. Police work for communities, not the other way around. It's time for increased Congressional oversight of the Department of Justice, and its policy and practices on local policing.
Gosh, that's not very respectful of our brave troops on the battlefield of American communities at all! We suspect that, if Barr or the DOJ say anything at all about his remarks -- and he doesn't have to, he doesn't owe you people anything -- it'll be in transparent bad faith. Like maybe all he meant was that those unspecified "communities" would find themselves without protection because good decent enforcers would simply not apply for police jobs, or might lose the will to do their jobs.
You know, like when Bill de Blasio's suggestion to not kill unarmed black citizens made New York cops too sad to fight crime in 2014, prompting a work slowdown. That particular Cop-Out "helped contribute to a nose dive in low-level policing, with overall arrests down 66 percent" for at least a week. It was probably a huge relief to people who weren't arrested for standing on their own damn sidewalks, not to mention to public defenders, but it ultimately ended. And there's hardly anyone saying we need no policing, though some radical crazies -- like national law enforcement policy groups -- think police might consider not acting like an occupying army.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.