Attorney General William Barr admitted that he believes police reform is a necessity as he noted the importance of striking a balance in policies.
Attending a press conference in Columbia, S.C., Wednesday, Barr joined Sen. Tim Scott, (R-S.C) where they discussed efforts being made for police reform.
Barr offered insight from both sides of the spectrum, stressing the need for law enforcement as well as the need for reform.
“We need a police force. We need these institutions to provide peace and security in society to allow our lives to flourish. At the same time, whenever you have that kind of institution, you have the possibility of abuse.”
Barr insisted there a number of steps that must be taken to make ensure police officers can maintain order while being held accountable for misconduct.
“You have to put reins and checks in place to make sure that these institutions that are designed to protect the community don’t themselves become oppressive,” Barr said, adding, “And it’s a question of striking the right balance.”
See Barr’s remarks below:
In the midst of working to find balance on police reform, Barr also expressed support for police officers and their vital role in local communities.
“We need to support the police so they’re out there protecting the community,” he said.
Barr also sought to clarify the meaning behind Democrats’ push to “defund the police,” stating that it is not a matter of “doing away with the police.”
“But by the same time, we have to be sure that there aren’t these abuses and it’s striking a balance. It’s not defunding the police or doing away with the police or demonizing the police, nor is it giving short shrift to the legitimate concerns that are out there about police abuses and overreach. So I think we have to strike a balance here.”
Barr and Scott’s press conference comes after weeks of deliberation between Democratic and Republican lawmakers working to find a suitable balance for police reform.
The death of George Floyd, after an officer for the Minneapolis Police Department pinned his knee into Floyd’s knee for several minutes, has led to public outcry and increased calls an end to police brutality and racial inequality.