AG William Barr Demands Black & Brown People ‘Respect’ Cops or Face Withdrawal of ‘Protection’
Beyond the Police State and Into Straight-Up Gangsterism
Last week, US Attorney General William Barr warned that if certain “communities” do not soon display more “respect” for law enforcement, then those communities may find themselves unprotected by police officers.
Barr offered these astounding remarks during a speech at the Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service in Policing.
But I think today, American people have to focus on something else,” Barr said, “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.
The Justice Department has yet to respond to repeated requests for Barr or DOJ to identify exactly which “communities” he was referring to and just what exactly “without the police protection” might look like.
It was the liberal super PAC American Bridge that first publicized Barr’s comments. They argued that the AG was obviously talking about communities of color which have historically and currently protested law enforcement as a result of seemingly never-ending police brutality, mass roundups and incarceration of black, brown and mainly poor people of all “colors,” and an also endemic, nationwide system of racial profiling.
The Attorney General isn’t being subtle and that shouldn’t surprise us considering this administration’s record,” American Bridge spokesperson Jeb Fain told HuffPost. “When it comes to communities of color, he sees justice and equal protection under the law as subject to conditions.
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.
Like his predecessor, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, III, attorney general Barr regularly demonstrates that he does not support a more humane criminal justice system, which is slowly being enacted in a number of states, counties and local jurisdictions nationwide.
Since his appointment and contentious confirmation by the US Senate last February, Barr has not merely maintained but enhanced Trump’s putative “tough on crime” approach to things, which has translated into a new and improved tough on black and brown people regime.
In a similar speech in August, Barr told a conclave of the Fraternal Order of Police gathered in New Orleans ― the country’s largest (and whitest) police union ― that there must be “zero tolerance for resisting police.” There, he was specific: He accused local prosecutors of purposely making police officers’ jobs more difficult because of their more progressive approaches to criminal cases.
There is another development that is demoralizing to law enforcement and dangerous to public safety,” Barr said in his August speech. “That is the emergence in some of our large cities of district attorneys that style themselves as ‘social justice” reformers, who spend their time undercutting the police, letting criminals off the hook and refusing to enforce the law.
Again, like Jeff Sessions before him, Barr supports the Justice Department’s efforts to water down or eliminate altogether judicial “consent decrees” and agreements between police forces and “communities of color.”
And just within the last few days, Barr has made herculean efforts to reinstate the federal death penalty, which has not been “executed” since 2003. Indeed, the attorney general had scheduled what smacks of mass/serial executions of five federal prisoners for this month and next. However, a US District judge ordered a preliminary injunction, even as some of the condemned legally challenge his attempt to reinstate wholesale federal capital punishment. That injunction was upheld this week by a federal appeals court.
No matter, and not to be deterred, Barr and his Justice Department have appealed to the Supreme Court to lift the stay so that he may get on with the business of killing of these prisoners.
The white racism/white supremacy in this move is egregious, palpable, obvious, open and clear.
This demand that specific “communities” must “honor” and “respect” police officers, despite many precinct houses’ documented, long and horrific records of police abuse relative to black and brown people, arises from cops and prosecutors, and not a small number of judges, who regard police reform and police-watch groups and individuals with the deepest disdain. Chief among those groups on Barr’s hit list (and not unlike the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense as it faced off against J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI two generations ago), of course, is today’s Black Lives Matter Movement.
Requiring unquestioned fealty to “law enforcement” — or face the removal of “police protection” — is not dissimilar to the “protection rackets” set up and executed by mobsters in the not- so-distant past. That is, like Mafia enforcers “protecting” their favored businesses from “competition,” while violently punishing businesses which refuse to do business with their mob bosses, Barr’s law enforcers are being ordered to ignore crime in the blacker and browner areas of very specific cities — cities where protests against police misconduct take place.
If this isn’t state-sanctioned gangsterism, then what is the proper definition of “gangster”?
In any event, this type of “conditional” provision of police “services” represents, indeed is the epitome of your average, run-of-the mill Quid Pro Quo policing strategy.