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Attorney General William Barr criticized the umbrella Black Lives Matter organization as opportunistic and not really concerned with the welfare of black people overall at an event Wednesday.
At the event, which was hosted by the Michigan-based Hillsdale College, Barr accused the BLM movement of exploiting police-involved shootings of blacks as a means of pursuing Left-wing political objectives.
At one point, Barr was asked about a correlation between economic prosperity and the rule of law. That led to a discussion about crime in which the attorney general agreed that while ‘black lives’ do matter, BLM as an organization does not really show much concern for all black lives.
“The rule of law is the foundation of civilization, including economic prosperity. And that’s why these so-called Black Lives Matter people — now that as a proposition who can quarrel with the proposition black lives matter — but they’re not interested in Black lives, they’re interested in props,” said the AG.
“A small number of blacks were killed by police during conflict with police, usually less than a dozen a year, who they can use as props to achieve a much broader political agenda,” he added.
According to an analysis of police shootings by Manhattan Institute fellow Heather Mac Donald published in June, police fatally shot 1,004 people in 2019, the vast majority of whom were armed and otherwise dangerous. Blacks accounted for roughly one-quarter of that figure (235), a percentage that has remained about the same since 2015.
That same year, police shot and killed nine unarmed blacks and 19 unarmed whites, she noted.
During the Q & A at the Hillsdale event, Barr continued to address the relationship between law and order and economic advancement and opportunities.
“The left likes to talk about dealing with the root causes, but all their solutions depend on peaceful streets at the end of the day,” he said. “You know, education, after-school activities, all this stuff depends on peace.
“If your school is run by a gang it’s not going to get you anywhere. And so, as I say, the foundation of all human progress is the rule of law,” he added.
As riots and looting took place throughout the summer following the George Floyd incident in Minneapolis in May, as well as a few subsequent shootings of black men by police, Barr has maintained that there is no “systemic racism” inherent in law enforcement on the federal level or in states.
At an often-contentious July hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Barr admitted that many blacks have feelings of distrust regarding police and said there are some perceptions of bias.
However, he added, “At the same time, I think it would be an oversimplification to treat the problem as rooted in some deep-seated racism generally infecting our police departments.”
In her analysis, Mac Donald noted that the share of blacks killed by police — armed and unarmed — is far less than it should be if systemic racism were a thing.
“That share of black victims is less than what the black crime rate would predict, since police shootings are a function of how often officers encounter armed and violent suspects,” she wrote.
“In 2018, the latest year for which such data have been published, African-Americans made up 53% of known homicide offenders in the U.S. and commit about 60% of robberies, though they are 13% of the population.”
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