‘I think all lives—all human life is—is sacred. And entitled to respect. And obviously black lives matter…’
There’s a difference between the BLM organization and the phrase “black lives matter” that often gets blurred by leftists activists, Barr told ABC News this week.
“I’d make a distinction between the organization, which I don’t agree with, they have a broader agenda,” he said.
“But in terms of the proposition that black lives matter, obviously black lives matter,” he added. “I think all lives—all human life is—is sacred. And entitled to respect. And obviously black lives matter.”
BLM activists, however, are “distorting the debate” by using the phrase “black lives matter” to “refer exclusively to black lives that are lost to police misconduct,” Barr said. And the reality is that the number of police killings, specifically among the black community, has decreased significantly over the past several years, Barr pointed out.
Barr is correct, according to conservative scholar Heather Mac Donald, who explained in the Wall Street Journal that the statistics simply do not support the “systemic racism” narrative BLM activists have been pushing.
According to the data, black Americans killed by cops represent 0.1% of all African Americans killed in 2019, Mac Donald wrote. By contrast, a police officer is 18 times more likely to be killed by a black male.
There are other issues in the black community outside of its relationship with law enforcement that BLM is unwilling to address, Barr said.
“Five years ago there were 40 [police killings of black Americans]. This last year it was 10. So at least it’s a positive trajectory there. But then you compare it to 8,000 homicides in the African American community, those are Black lives that matter, too. And those are lives that are protected by the police,” he explained.
President Trump has also been critical of the BLM movement, condemning a massive BLM mural as a “symbol of hate” and denouncing the rioters and looters who have destroyed hundreds of businesses over the past couple of months.
“Maybe our GREAT Police, who have been neutralized and scorned by [New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio] who hates & disrespects them, won’t let this symbol of hate be affixed to New York’s greatest street. Spend this money fighting crime instead!” Trump tweeted this week.
Barr insisted that he had not seen Trump’s latest comments on the BLM movement, but noted that the president has been very supportive of criminal justice reform and law enforcement. That’s true reform, Barr said: emphasizing the need for additional changes but standing by the men and women whose job it is to enforce the law.
Many black Americans would agree that that’s the right approach, Barr said, citing recent conversations he’s had with the African–American community.
“They’re not interested in defunding the police,” he said. “If anything, they wanna help propel the professionalization of police, increase training of police, and also that they’re interested in building a stronger connection between the communities and the police.”