William Barr, the Attorney General, defended the work of law enforcement on Monday by promising to push for new legislation to quickly carry out the death penalty for suspects who commit mass shootings or kill police officers. He also took aim at prosecutors who “style themselves as ‘social justice’ reformers.”
Barr was known to have a tough-on-crime approach in his previous position as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer in the early 1990s. He championed efforts to keep chronic offenders behind bars with long sentences.
On Monday, in his speech to the Fraternal Order of Police conference in New Orleans, he said that helped seriously cut down violent crime.
Barr commented that the government must have “zero tolerance” for suspects who resist the police and the attorney general denounced protesters who threw water on New York City police a few weeks ago as “prancing punks.”
That hardline stance puts Barr at odds with today’s criminal justice reformers. Many in the criminal justice field now favor rehabilitation instead of incarceration.
President Donald Trump has increased efforts to overhaul the criminal justice system. He talks about legislation he signed last year that gives judges more discretion in sentencing and eases mandatory minimum sentences.
But the president has been a strong defender of police, once even telling officers in a speech they shouldn’t “be too nice” to suspects they arrest.
Across the U.S., there are some established prosecutors who have vowed not to prosecute lower-level offenses, like drug possession and other misdemeanors.
“So these cities are headed back to the days of revolving door justice,” Barr said. “The results will be predictable. More crime; more victims.”
Barr vowed that the Justice Department would propose legislation to expedite criminal cases against suspects charged in mass shootings and the killings of law enforcement officers, so they could face quick punishment, including the death penalty.
“Punishment must be swift and certain,” Barr said.
He also said there should be more of an appreciation for the work of law enforcement officers.
“The ‘thin blue line’ is getting thinner,” he added.
Credit: Daily Mail