AG Barr: Communities need to start showing more support to LEOs
The U.S. attorney general drew criticism for saying lack of police support could mean less protection
WASHINGTON — United States Attorney General William Barr drew criticism Wednesday for saying that communities nationwide may find themselves without the police protection they need if they don’t support police officers.
NBC News reports that, during a ceremony honoring law enforcement officers, Barr said crowds applaud military officers and show their approval for individual service members in places like airports, but police officers get no such recognition for doing their jobs day after day.
“I think 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,” Barr said during his speech. “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.”
According to NBC News, the American Civil Liberties Union responded to the speech, saying Barr was telling communities to “bow their heads” to the police.
“Support and respect are earned, not given as the result of a demand from those who carry badges and guns,” Jeffrey Robinson, of the ACLU, told NBC News. “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.”
A Justice Department official told NBC Barr was not suggesting police would abandon their duties without public support and was instead referring to the importance of community respect in police recruitment and retention nationwide.