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Attorney General Bill Barr said in an interview on Fox News' "Special Report" Monday that he supports banning police chokeholds — one of the reforms proposed by Democrats in Congress — except when necessary to meet "lethal force."

The big picture: Barr condemned the idea promoted by activists in the wake of George Floyd's killing of defunding police departments, calling it "dangerous" and stressing his belief that more crime will be committed if police are forced to pull back from communities.

Driving the news: A veto-proof majority of the Minneapolis City Council signed a pledge on Sunday to begin the process of dismantling the Minneapolis Police Department as it currently exists. The council-members are seeking to replace it with a community-based public safety model — the details of which are not yet clear.

  • Barr, while acknowledging why members of the black community would view police departments as systemically racist given the "history of racial injustice" in the U.S., called the decision "the exact opposite of the way we should go."
  • "I think, in fact, over the past 50 or 60 years, we've had a lot of reform of police departments," Barr said. "I was attorney general 30 years ago and I can tell you there's a world of difference."
  • "Today, the police chiefs, the rank-and-file officers understand the need for change, and there has been great change," he continued. "And I think defunding the police, holding the entire police structure responsible for the actions of certain officers is wrong, and I think it's dangerous to demonize police."

Barr emphasized his view, which has also been expressed by President Trump and other members of his administration, that the overwhelming majority of police officers in the U.S. are good people.

  • "One of the legitimate grievances of the African-American community is that they are treated with suspicion and braced simply because they're African-Americans," Barr said. "That does happen. By the same token, peaceful demonstrators should not be treated as violent extremists simply because they're out on the streets."
  • "It's the same with police officers. Every organization has individuals engage in misconduct, and we have to be careful before we say the whole organizations is rotten."

Go deeper: Biden campaign says he does not support defunding the police

Go deeper

DOJ watchdog probing Roger Stone sentencing changes

Roger Stone, friend and former adviser to President Trump, leaves the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia after being sentenced in February in Washington, DC. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Department of Justice inspector general's office has launched an internal investigation into Attorney General Bill Barr's intervention in the sentencing of President Trump's associate Roger Stone, the DOJ confirmed Monday night.

Why it matters: The probe centers around Barr's February decision to seek a lighter sentence after career prosecutors recommended seven to nine years in prison for Stone, who was convicted of obstruction, witness tampering and making false statements to Congress, NBC News first reported.

Updated Sep 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Rochester police chief fired following Daniel Prude's death

A make shift memorial at the site where Daniel Prude was arrested in Rochester, New York. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said Monday she's fired Police Chief La'Ron Singletary and suspended two others following protests over the police killing of Daniel Prude, a Black man says after being hooded and held down by local police.

Why it matters: The firing of Singletary comes almost a week after he announced his retirement. Activists have called for Singletary's resignation after details of Prude's March death surfaced recently, the Democrat and Chronicle notes. Warren accused Singletary of failing to properly brief her on the killing.

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

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