By Vincent L. Hall
“I think today, American people have to focus on something else, which is the sacrifice and the service that is given by our law enforcement officers,” Barr told the crowd. “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.” – William Barr, US Attorney General, Dec. 3, 2019
This is what your Attorney General said on the eve of the 50th observance of the FBI’s assassination of Fred Hampton. So you didn’t get the memo wrong. Some of these White folks have really lost their minds! AG Bill Barr, who looks, laps and lumbers around like Donald Trump’s Saint Bernard, let it rip. To take license with anyone’s speech is always dangerous, but let me tell you what I heard.
Barr was saying if these Niggers and Nigger lovers don’t bow down to our local police, we will just walk and see how well they can do without us. Well, Mr. Barr, we already know how communities in a capitalistic society do without police protection. Black communities have rarely been protected from criminals with or without badges. Urban dwellers in Chicago, Detroit, Houston, or Dallas can let you in on a secret.
Your threat to remove law enforcement is like Trump’s attempts to remove all Mexicans; you a day late and two pesos short, hombre. Elliot Hannon, an editorialist for “The Slate,” reacted to Barr’s speech at the Third Annual Attorney Generals Award for Distinguished Service, and he apparently heard what most of us heard. “One way to read Barr’s comments is as a not-so-thinly-veiled threat to communities, particularly communities of color, that have serious and legitimate issues with how they are treated by law enforcement.
The “respect and support” portion of the comment is pretty straightforward and a common refrain among law enforcement that bristles at criticism. Barr is America’s top cop, after all, and has said similar things in the past. “There is another development that is demoralizing to law enforcement and dangerous to public safety,” Barr said in a speech earlier this year. “That is the emergence in some of our large cities of district attorneys that style themselves as ‘social justice’ reformers, who spend their time undercutting the police, letting criminals off the hook and refusing to enforce the law.”
Barr, like his predecessor, Massa Jefferson Beauregard Sessions, does not follow the will of America’s majority. They greet criminal justice reform measures with that played-out 1980s “Tough on Crime” bullshit. Barr veils it, but he sounds like Detective Mark Furhman from the O.J. Simpson trial. A witness testified that Furhman said he would like to put “niggers in a pile and burn them.
The only good nigger is a dead nigger.” December 4, 2019, was the 50th anniversary of Fred Hampton’s assassination. Obviously, it was another of the reasons we should be grateful, according to Barr’s lopsided logic. Since the FBI could not kill the spirit of resistance among the Black Panther Party during the late 60s, they marshaled a local police department to take down Fred Hampton.
In the trial, the usual defense of “we thought our lives were being threatened” was disproved. The Chicago Tribune revisited the tragedy a few pages from where they ran Barr’s comments. “Survivors Harold Bell and Hampton’s fiancee, Akua Njeri, then known as Debra Johnson, testified at the 1972 criminal trial against the state’s attorney and officers in the raid that Hampton was pulled alive from his bed and shot dead after the group had surrendered.
Later, an FBI whistleblower said the agency coaxed local law enforcement across the country, including Chicago police, into deadly clashes with heavily armed Black Panthers. “In 1983, a federal judge approved a settlement that awarded $1.85 million to survivors of the raid and families of the two men who were killed, to be paid by the federal government, the city of Chicago and Cook County.” Let me help you Mr. Barr. We’ve never been ungrateful and we support good cops. However, we would be much more grateful if cops protected us like they protect folks who look like you. Your comments were a low bar for the office of AG.