WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US Attorney General William Barr said he supports a nationwide ban on the use of chokeholds by law enforcement in the United States.
“I think we should ban chokeholds”, Barr said in a Fox News interview on Monday. “I think we’re going to need a strong federal participation in this effort in helping to set standards”.
At the same time, Barr said it would be wrong and dangerous to defund and dismantle US police departments, as it has been recently proposed in some jurisdictions.
“Demonising police” is wrong and dangerous”, Barr said. “We put these individuals into highly charged, dangerous situations where their own life is at stake … and we have to make sure we treat them fairly in those circumstances”.
Following George Floyd’s death in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, activists have been calling for defunding of US police departments and redirecting funds to other areas to help communities, such as education and housing. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti have said they are intent on shifting police funding to youth programmes and social services.
Barr also said that investigations are underway on individuals with links to the far-left extremist movement Antifa.
“We have some investigations underway, very focused investigations on certain individuals that relate to Antifa”, Barr said.
Last week, Barr said the US Department of Justice has evidence that Antifa has instigated violence amid protests in the United States over the death of black citizen George Floyd. Many of the protests turned into riots complete with violence against police and civilians and acts of vandalism, arson, and looting.
President Donald Trump has said the US government would designate Antifa as a terrorist organisation after repeatedly blaming it – and allied groups – for the recent riots throughout the country.