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By Scotty T. Reid – Right after a white supremacist gunman went on a rampage to stop an imaginary Mexican invasion by randomly shooting Hispanics in a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, US Attorney General Bill Barr gave an interview where he was seemingly praising vigilante justice and police torture.
“I believe a sense of justice is hardwired into human beings,” Barr stated in an interview with Crime Story podcast host Kary Antholis. “Don’t ask me why, but it is there and it’s satisfying to see justice done.”
US AG Barr elaborates on his theory of justice in the interview by recalling the Charles Bronson movie Death Wish and Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry, both 70s era films are about vigilantism in the United States with Dirty Harry being about a cop who uses brutality to achieve his goals. If Barr is a fan of Dirty Harry, a fictional character then he must love former Chicago police commander Jon Burge who used torture to get young Black boys and men to confess to crimes they did not commit.
Barr then describes a scene in Dirty Harry where Eastwood’s character confronts a serial killer who has surrendered but buried a hostage alive. Barr then says Dirty Harry “shoots him in the leg or something and the guy tells him where it is.” This sounds just like the rational given by Republicans to justify the US government torturing alleged terrorists to stop the ticking time bomb from going off.
In an attempt to justify Dirty Harry’s torturing a suspect, he goes on to say, “I say, now, was that an unjust or morally repellent act? Is the reason that the audience applauds when that happens because the audience is morally bankrupt?” Barr asked, incredulously. “Or is there something else going on there?”
If anyone is morally bankrupt, it is Barr who made these statements not long after he announced the Justice Department would not be pursuing charges against NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo for violating Eric Garner’s civil right by choking him to the point of death for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes on the street.
This is particularly troubling and sends a horrible message to law enforcement officers in the United States who have just been named the 6th leading cause of death of young men.
The US Congress must hold hearings on these serious issues and this blatant promotion of vigilantism and police brutality by a Trump cabinet member. They must make the US Attorney General explain himself. Barr should be impeached over this but it is unlikely the Senate under Republican control would do anything of the sort.
This is America.