Attorney General William Barr said in a speech that if communities do not show more respect to law enforcement officers, they may lose “police protection.”
Barr made the comments, which have drawn criticism from some liberal groups and commentators, at an award ceremony Tuesday honoring officers and deputies for “distinguished service in policing.”
In his speech, Barr compared being in law enforcement to being in the military. Barr said it took decades after the Vietnam War for troops to earn respect. He said he remembers parades as soldiers left for then returned home from the first Gulf War in the 1990s.
“But when police officers roll out of their precinct every morning, there are no crowds along the highway cheering them on. And when you go home at the end of the day, there’s no ticker-tape parade.”
Barr said Americans, instead, need to focus on “the sacrifice and the service” of law enforcement.
“They have to start showing more than they do – the respect and support that law enforcement deserves,” Barr said. “And if communities don’t give that support and respect, they might find themselves without the police protection they need.”
Barr did not say what “communities” he was referring to, however, critics said they felt the comments were direct at communities of color, where long-standing issues of trust over police brutality and racial profiling have persisted.
Barr did not name any specific communities.
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