AG Barr addresses police conference in Marco Island

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United States Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday spoke to a group of law enforcement officials on Marco Island. (Credit: WINK News)

United States Attorney General William Barr’s trip to Southwest Florida sparked some controversy with advocacy groups.

Barr on Tuesday spoke to a group of law enforcement officials on Marco Island. He talked about protests and the Black Lives Matter movement while denouncing the violent protests that erupted across the country this summer.

“These are criminals and they must be dealt with accordingly.”

He said police officers protect black communities.

“We hear a lot about Black Lives Matter, and no one quarrels with that principle,” he said. But black lives have been saved by the brave exertions of our police departments.”

Barr admitted that excessive force exists, but most arrests that escalate are due to criminals resisting. He said the focus needs to shift away from force.

“Officers are trained when there is a predication for using deadly force, you shoot until the threat is neutralized. You see the threat neutralized.”

Activist groups in Southwest Florida reacted to Barr’s comments.

“The attitude of the police and the people who train the police is often that the civilians, the civilian population is the enemy and that they need to be neutralized, but this is not a war zone, this is our neighborhoods,” said Ellen Hemrick with the Southwest Florida chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice.

“If it was really about protecting the peace, then they would be policing their police officers, if that was really what they wanted to do. So to me, it just seems like another tactic to stall change,” said Tharina Oris with Collier Youth for Black Lives.

The Department of Jusice is supposed to be bipartisan, but Barr, while never saying Trump’s name once, spoke at length about how the administration is handling the war on drugs, solving systemic racism partially through school choice, and how he will always defend the blue.

Watch Barr’s speech below or click here.

Attorney General William Barr poses with the Guns n Hoses Pipes n Drums group. Credit: WINK News

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